Deputy Opposition Leader Penny Sharpe today announced that a Daley Labor Government will invest $1.8 million in priority actions towards making Parramatta River swimmable again by 2025.
Ms Sharpe was joined at a proposed future swim site at Putney Park by Labor candidates Jerome Laxale for Ryde, Andrew Zbik for Lane Cove, and Tom Hore for Drummoyne, to promise the funding.
“Making the Parramatta River swimmable might sound like an ambitious goal, but it’s a goal that is built on good science and cooperation already in place with the Parramatta River Catchment Group,” Ms Sharpe said.
“Labor’s $1.8 million investment will be put to immediate use to support further research and expand water quality monitoring across the river. This work will lay the foundation for a return to swimming at identified sites along the Parramatta River, with some sites proposed to open by 2025.”
The Parramatta River Catchment Group (PRCG) has completed a robust, ten-step masterplan for the river, with scientific modelling showing that water quality can be improved even with future development, but additional management and funding will be needed.
The PRCG has identified four new swimming sites at Putney Park (Putney), Bayview Park (Concord), McIlwaine Park (Rhodes East) and Callan Park (Rozelle).
Mr Laxale said: “As a former Chair of the Parramatta River Catchment Group, I know how much research, science and joint cooperation has gone into this plan – we are serious about cleaning up the river and making it swimmable for the community.”
Mr Zbik said: “The need to clean up our local environment is one of the most common issues raised with me, and our precious Parramatta River must be a part of this effort. I can’t wait to see a swimmable river again.”
Mr Hore said: “Living close to the city does not mean we should have to accept polluted waters. It will take resources and will from government to make a healthy river, but Labor is committed to achieving that.”
Labor’s $1.8 million investment will:
Expand the Riverkeeper Network to support citizen science and other community education and
compliance programs $600,000 over three years for additional PRCG staff and resources to deliver citizen science programs.
Implement Riverwatch monitoring at four new swimming sites along the river
$400,000 to implement the Parramatta River Riverwatch Monitoring Program at four proposed new swimming sites to confirm their suitability for swimming.
Expand strategic water quality monitoring across the entire river
$800,000 to expand the Riverwatch Monitoring Program strategically across the Parramatta River and its catchment area to identify future opportunities for swim site activation and catchment management efforts.
The Parramatta River Catchment Group is an alliance of 11 local councils and state government agencies, with additional partners including local community groups and NSW Royal Life Saving.