by Jeni Bone
The Gold Coast Waterways Authority Bill 2012 was introduced to the House last week and has been referred to the Transport, Housing and Local Government Committee for consideration.
Gold Coast Broadwater
The Committee has to report back the House by November 22. The Newman Government is fully committed to the re-establishment of the Gold Coast Waterways Authority and has guaranteed funding to the tune of $30 million.
According to Member for Broadwater, Verity Barton: 'The introduction of this Bill is a critical next step in returning autonomy of local waterways to the Gold Coast community'.
'Our waterways are the jewel in our crown and we have a fantastic opportunity to revitalise not only the local tourism industry but just as importantly the local marine industry. The authority will have control of the Gold Coast waterways from the Logan River in the north and to the Queensland/New South Wales border in the south.'
The GCWA will be very ably led by former Gold Coast Mayor, Gary Baildon. The remaining membership of the authority will include a representative of the Gold Coast City Council and five members of the Gold Coast community and local industry.
'I have full confidence in Mr Baildon, as Chair-designate, and look forward to the great work he and the authority will do,' says Barton. 'The establishment of the Board will enable a more accountable and efficient process which can only develop stronger relationships. The Board will achieve lasting advantages for the community it serves.'
As Barton explains: 'The restoration of the GCWA will have many flow on benefits for the local marine industry which is long-established and well respected'.
'The Gold Coast remains a leader in the manufacture of marine craft and delivers a significant proportion of all boats built in Australia. The restoration of the GCWA will create an environment which will open the way to significant marine business advantages. Reliable and all-season access to the Gold Coast’s natural maritime environment is critical to both the recreational and commercial vessel and therefore to the marine industry itself. I would argue the GCWA’s concern for dredging priorities is one that clearly offers many benefits to the industry.'
The Waterways Authority will oversee sustainable use and development for a range of maritime tourism and recreational activities as well as dredging and associated amenities such as buoy markings and anchoring areas.
'In a city which hosts millions of visitors each year it’s obvious that intensive and continual recreational use of waterways requires that marine infrastructure and resources are efficiently managed. Responsibility with regard to tourism is not one taken lightly on the Gold Coast where tourism is a key driver of our local economy alongside the marine industry.
'By re-establishing the Gold Coast Waterways Authority we’re placing control of these important assets back in the community’s hands; by providing localised decision making and control through the Authority Board we can be confident that the community is being well represented and positive outcomes will be achieved.'