Dredging to save Australian beach

The Hunter River, Australia: Credit: Ocean Charters

The government of New South Wales, Australia, is being urged to explore the fast-tracking of dredging for the proposed Port of Newcastle, Australia, liquified natural gas import terminal, to use the extracted river sand to restore Stockton beach and save it from erosion.

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) said dredged sand from the Hunter River, which would have naturally joined Stockton beach before the port was constructed, offered a fast, cost-effective, and environmentally sustainable solution to address the current erosion crisis.

MUA Newcastle Branch secretary Glen Williams urged the state government to explore fast-tracking the dredging component of the planned USD589 million gas import terminal, allowing the sand to be put to use on Stockton beach while the remaining planning processes were undertaken.

“Just in August, the NSW Government announced that this LNG import terminal has been declared critical, state significant infrastructure, allowing a fast-tracking of planning and approval processes,” secretary Williams said.

He added that because the proposed gas terminal is on the site of the scrapped T4 coal terminal, much of the leg work around testing of the sand resource and planning for dredging operations had already been undertaken. “We are reliably informed that the sand that needs to be dredged for this project was previously tested as part of the T4 planning process, with experts finding large reserves of uncontaminated sand that could be used to safely restock the beach,” he said.