New $3 million marine agency centre for North Coast
MARINE agencies are set to be bolstered on the North Coast with a $3 million multi-agency marine centre expected to be opened by the end of the year.
Based in Tweed Heads, the new building will house Roads and Maritime Services, NSW Fisheries and water police.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest said 12 fisheries and maritime personnel, as well as water police officers, will operate out of the facility.
He expects the complex will foster "shared intelligence, joint operations and high-level of efficiency".
Mr Provest said the State Government had been slow to recognise the need for the "major upgrade" to support the busy waterways of the North Coast.
Three new water police could be posted to the area permanently, according to Mr Provest, who said the extra resources will help alleviate pressure on general duties police.
He recounted an incident in Murwillumbah where RMS and three men accused of drinking on their tinny had to wait for a lengthy period of time on shore before police arrived to take further action.
Ballina Shire mayor, David Wright said the announcement was made in "very good timing" with two marina developments on the cards in Ballina.
He said to have any extra help would be good for our region and its expanding water users.
Sonia McKay, principal manager North for Roads and Maritime Service, said the multi-agency facility will create a "well-rounded service for boating users".
Although the RMS have maritime offices in Yamba and Ballina, Ms McKay said there's no reason why services can't be expanded from the Tweed to bolster the southern services.
It is hoped construction will start in May with the facility to be complete by end of year.