The new Lake Illawarra Estuary Management Committee set up by Wollongong and Shellharbour City Councils is a toothless tiger with no decision-making authority, Member for Shellharbour, Anna Watson, said today.
Both Councils have agreed to establish the new Lake Illawarra Estuary Management Committee at respective Council meetings and have published terms of reference for the Committee.
“Following the abolition of the Lake Illawarra Authority (LIA) by the State Government in 2012, the management of Lake Illawarra has been left in limbo.
“Both Wollongong and Shellharbour City Councils have been left with no choice by the State Government but to establish this new committee.
“The terms of reference for the new committee simply confirm that it will be an advisory structure only, with no funding, and no ability to make any decisions on the management of Lake Illawarra.
“It is simply deplorable that the State Government has walked away from management of Lake Illawarra and left Wollongong and Shellharbour Councils to pick up the tab.
“Both Councils will now be forced to employ new staff and dedicate new resources to servicing a committee which has no decision-making authority and independent funding.
“The decision to abolish the LIA was pure penny-pinching by the State Government.
“Wollongong and Shellharbour City ratepayers have been forced to take-over responsibility for the management of Lake Illawarra and take up a begging-bowl for any government funding”, she said.
Ms Watson said if Labor had been elected in March, the LIA would have been re-established with $1.2 million funding allocated per year by July.
“We would have re-established certainty over the management of Lake Illawarra and an organisation which could have taken decisions and put its money where its mouth is to fund improvements to the waterway”, she said.
22 May 2015