Sydney coastal councils reject NSW Government’s attempts to shift costs for NSW Beachwatch to local government

The NSW Government is attempting to shift the costs of its successful and long-running NSW Beachwatch program to coastal councils in Sydney.  The NSW Beachwatch program helps people make informed decisions about when and where to swim.

Sydney Coastal Councils Group (SCCG), representing nine coastal and estuarine councils in Sydney, supports the program’s value to not only local residents but to the broader NSW community and international tourists that visit our world-renowned beaches.  However, it rejects the NSW Government’s attempts to shift the cost of the program to local councils for what is a state government responsibility.

Generally, Councils have no control over the land or waterways below mean high water where Beachwatch monitoring is conducted.  Councils also have no control over sewers which is the primary source of bacteriological contamination of waterways that impact on swimming.

Costs for the service provided by the NSW Government to coastal councils represent a significant financial impost on councils that are already grappling with increasing community expectations, constrained budgets and other forms of state government cost-shifting.

In light of this, the SCCG calls on the NSW Government to maintain the NSW Beachwatch program as a fully-funded state program without shifting costs to Sydney coastal councils.

SCCG also calls on the Minister for the Environment, in consultation with the Minister for Water, to request Sydney Water, as the provider of sewerage services in Sydney, to take a role in water quality monitoring at Beachwatch sites.