BY JARROD MELMETH
Questions are being raised around a $34 million gap in funding for communities affected by coastal erosion.
A $72.7 million funding pool was allocated by the NSW Government to provide grants under the Coastal Estuary grant program from 2016/17 to 2020/2021, which is due to end in June this year.
NSW Labor says a Freedom of Information request has revealed just over $38 million has been allocated.
Records show almost 250 funding applications were lodged, and a quarter of those were rejected.
Among those rejected was Port Stephens Council despite serious erosion issues at Jimmy’s Beach.
Port Stephens MP Kate Washington says local governments have been begging for this money.
“The funding is meant to end by June of this year. That can’t happen. Those funds need to remain available.
“They have been severely affected by erosion and yet this money is sitting on half of the bucket of funding that it announced to support and to try and fix these problems.
“We have got coastlines washing away, houses hanging off cliffs and councils are desperate for more resources,” Ms Washington said.