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NSW Labor puts local water quality monitoring on the chopping block

Mark at Oatley Bay Baths

Member for Oatley, Mark Coure has called out the Minns Labor Government for their short-sighted decision to make cuts to the Beachwatch Program which includes two sites in the Oatley electorate.

Since 1989, the Beachwatch Program has provided a comprehensive monitoring service for swim sites in the Sydney coastal area at no cost to local councils, it tests for pollution and contamination, including from enterococci bacteria which is an indicator of whether faecal matter is in the water.

Earlier this month, the Department of Planning and Environment wrote to local councils, including Georges River Council, to indicate the NSW Government has now made this an ‘opt-in, fee-for-service’ program, meaning local councils will now need to fund this vital monitoring themselves.

“Locally, there are two sites in our area, Oatley Bay Baths and Jew Fish Bay Baths which currently fall under this program.” Mr Coure said.

“As previously reported by The Leader in August of 2023, there have been reports of sewerage overflows into the Georges River, highlighting the absurdity of this decision to cut funding to a vital water quality monitoring program.”

“The former Coalition government released a 10-year strategy in which $18.5 million was committed to expand the program and now NSW Labor have saw fit to cut this important program.”

“The Georges River is a beautiful asset to our community, and it is crucial that the NSW Government ensures that the water is safe enough for local residents to continue to enjoy the recreational swimming, fishing and boating activities we all cherish.”

“This is simply a bad decision for everyone, and I am calling on the Minns Labor Government to reverse their cuts to the Beachwatch Program.”