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$50 million budget fix for coastal degradation

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Around 500,000 cubic metres of “newly-sourced” sand and an extra 10 kilometres of pipeline are part of a $52 million budget bid to fight erosion along our South Australia’s metropolitan and regional coastline.

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The Marshall Government has announced this month’s state budget will contain significant new funding to address the sand erosion crisis, which has escalated since 2011.

It will include $48.4 million allocated to the metropolitan coast, $20 million of which will bring additional sand to vulnerable beaches – including around 500,000 cubic metres of newly-sourced sand – likely from Port Stanvac.

The other $28.4 million will see the long-awaited completion of a sand recycling pipeline from Semaphore to West Beach, as well as sand dune restoration and revegetation in partnership with local councils and coastal community groups.

When complete, the pipeline will complement the existing one from Glenelg to Kingston Park, which pumps 100,000 cubic metres of sand each year to stabilise dunes and maintain SA’s southern beaches.

It follows an announcement earlier today to boost restoration funding regional coasts by $4 million.

The measures follow the release of a report last year by environmental consultants Danish Hydraulics Institute (DHI), which outlined long-term options for managing erosion at West Beach, including mass sand replenishment.

The report found erosion problems at West Beach “must include some form of long term nourishment at a rate of around 100,000 cubic metres a year on average”.

Otherwise, it said, “the erosion problems will continue to worsen and migrate northwards into the Henley Beach cell”.

Environment Minister David Speirs said the sand along Adelaide’s coast naturally moves northward, causing sand to build up on northern beaches such as Semaphore, but erode along the southern and central coast including West Beach, Henley Beach and Seacliff.

“At present, beach volumes are the lowest since measurements began in the 1970s,” he said in a statement.

“We recognise the importance of our coastline as the first defence against our changing climate and this investment will build resilience and improve environmental outcomes in a practical way.”

Premier Steven Marshall said in a statement that the state’s coastline was among its “most precious natural resources and a crucial drawcard for our tourism industry”.

“But unfortunately it’s suffering from the effects of significant storms which have caused millions of dollars of damage and depleted beaches of thousands of tonnes of sand,” he said.

“We know that erosion has been a cause of angst for local communities along our coast, and hope that this provides them with some relief – and in addition, we hope that this investment helps attract more visitors to SA, and creates jobs during the process.”

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