5 September 2019

Mayoral Column

Council was advised last week that the NSW Government would commit a maximum of $500,000 a year in funding to Hawkesbury City Council and The Hills Shire Council to assist in continuing the operation of the Lower Portland Ferry for the next four years. At the Hawkesbury City Council meeting on Tuesday, 27 August, Hawkesbury councillors voted to accept the NSW Government’s funding offer to assist in the operation of the Lower Portland ferry.

I would like to thank the Hon. Andrew Constance, Minister for Transport and Roads for NSW, for the contribution and Ms Robyn Preston, Member for Hawkesbury, for advocating to save the ferry for the local community.

The ferry service provides a vital link to our remote communities and provides access to locals, particularly school children in the area. Approximately 500 individual trips are made each week on the free ferry service according to a survey of users in May 2018

Although the operation of ferry services across NSW is generally a State Government function, the Lower Portland Ferry is unusual as it is jointly operated and maintained by the Hills Shire Council and Hawkesbury City Council. The cost of maintaining the service is currently just over $1 million annually.

Whilst both Councils will still be required to meet the remaining costs of operating the service as well as the necessary capital investments, the funding offer provides an opportunity to develop and plan for the ongoing operation of the ferry.

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