Sutherland Shire ratepayers will have to foot 50 per cent of the cost of dredging navigation channels within Port Hacking that until now has been financed entirely by the state government.

The change is expected to cost shire ratepayers about $1 million every few years.

Sutherland Shire Council is expected to meet NSW Lands and Water Minister, Niall Blair to object to the proposed changes to dredging funding arrangements.

Former NSW premier Bob Carr signed an agreement in 1994 stating that the dredging of the Port Hacking navigation channels was the responsibility of the state government.

Since then both Liberal and Labor governments have honoured the agreement.

Recently, the state government offered the council a grant of $860,000 towards the dredging of Port Hacking and $630,000 towards dredging Fishermans Bay to be funded on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

For many decades Sutherland Shire Council has held a position that it does not accept any responsibility for maintenance dredging of Port Hacking, particularly as navigation uses of the channel includes public transport.

Port Hacking is Crown land which is not under the council’s control, and the state government receives revenue from boat licence fees, mooring fees and royalties.

Recently the council requested $172,000 in state government funding for the dredging of 40,000 cubic metres from the main navigation channel in Port Hacking.

This includes the ferry channel to Bundeena, and areas off Little Turriel Point, Lilli Pilli and Gogerlys Point, where sand has built up beyond the acceptable level.

Source: The Leader

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