Wednesday, 8 August 2007
Tuggerah Lakes Estuary Management Plan
I rise tonight to relay great news regarding a project that has been close to my heart since I became the Member for Dobell in 2001. Having lived in the area for 24 years at that time I was well aware of the need for this project. A few weeks ago the federal Minister for the Environment and Water Resources made an announcement at Wallarah Point Park on the Central Coast pledging $20 million in federal funding to assist the implementation of the Tuggerah Lakes Estuary Management Plan, as produced by the Wyong Shire Council. The Tuggerah Lakes Estuary system is unique and is one of the Central Coast’s most valuable natural assets, and this plan will restore and help protect the system so that it can be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike for years to come. The implementation of the Tuggerah Lakes Estuary Management Plan will significantly improve the recreational facilities around the lakes and creeks, which are popular with local families, especially during summer. The plan will also reduce sediment and nutrient inputs to the lakes and improve the quality of stormwater entering the lakes from the catchment, which will ensure local residents will be able to enjoy swimming and fishing at lake beaches.
Obviously, the New South Wales government owns the lake but, just as I did with Tumbi Creek, I made it my priority to represent local residents’ strong concerns and the urgent need to preserve and protect our precious lake system. After many months of working closely with Wyong council and the local community to put the case forward for federal funding, I am pleased that this funding has now become a reality. To ensure the restoration of Tuggerah Lakes is carried out properly the Howard government has committed to accelerate and drive rescue activity by implementing the plan over four years.
In typical Labor fashion, they scrambled to purposely mislead local residents by making yet another empty promise to fund this project, just as they did with the federal funding we announced a month ago for the ‘missing link’ pipeline to future proof the Central Coast’s water supply. This is what Labor is doing across the country: making policy on the run. As far as I am aware, the blow-in from Melbourne who the ALP has parachuted in as their candidate to the electorate of Dobell has not previously expressed any concern over the health of Tuggerah Lakes. He has no history of working on this issue and the best the ALP could come up with was to yet again mirror the policies the coalition government has been working on to continually improve the Central Coast.
I have been working on the Estuary Management Plan all two terms. I have had numerous meetings with Wyong council to find a solution to Tuggerah Lakes. I doubt that there would be any record in the GM or the mayor’s diary of the Melbournite seeking a meeting to discuss the future of our lake system. And, unlike Labor’s promise, by working with Wyong council and the community I have secured a real funding commitment toward the clean-up of Tuggerah Lakes. This is not a re-election commitment. The funding will be provided to council immediately to ensure that the job gets done promptly. Tuggerah Lakes is the jewel of the Central Coast and its maintenance is one of the most important issues facing the Wyong Shire community. I am ecstatic that the Howard government recognises and understands the importance of this lake system to our area. I will continue to work hard for the people of Dobell to ensure that Labor’s neglect does not deny our area the services and projects that it deserves. Indeed, the state Labor government have left the Central Coast for dead for many years, doing the very minimum that they can. We see a lot of activity just before a state election but after that we see nothing.