Coalition commits $4.5 million to make tidal pool in Port Macquarie a reality if re-elected

Visit: Scott Morrison greeting senior citizens at Port Panthers on May 9. Photo: Tracey Fairhurst.
Visit: Scott Morrison greeting senior citizens at Port Panthers on May 9. Photo: Tracey Fairhurst.

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a re-elected Coalition government would fund a tidal pool in Port Macquarie to the tune of $4.5 million dollars.

Mr Morrison made the announcement at a community forum with senior citizens at Port Panthers on May 9.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison pledged his government would finish the feasibility study, finalise planning and design, and build the project.

"A tidal pool in Port Macquarie is one of those projects which has been talked about in the community for decades and my government and our candidate Pat Conaghan will make it a reality," the Prime Minister said.

"We believe in Port Macquarie as one of the most popular and picturesque destinations along the Mid North Coast, and a tidal pool will make the city even more of a drawcard."

The news was greeted with pure delight by Port Macquarie Tidal Pool committee member Fred O'Toole.

I am thrilled to bits, $4.5 million will just about do it.

Fred O'Toole

"It will mean the council and local population won't have to put up a dollar."

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council Mayor Peta Pinson said she was in a "state of shock" by the announcement.

"Port Macquarie will have a tidal pool, it is amazing," Mayor Pinson said.

Labor candidate for Cowper Andrew Woodward poured cold water on the announcement describing it as "funding for a non-existent project".

"We don't know if it is technically feasible, we don't know if it is environmentally feasible and we don't know how much it costs," Mr Woodward said.

"Further, council told me there's no consensus yet as to whether the community would prefer a tidal pool, an upgrade to the current indoor aquatic centre or a completely new indoor aquatic centre."

Independent candidate for Cowper Rob Oakeshott said more detail was required.

Thrilled: Port Macquarie Tidal Pool committee member Fred O'Toole and mayor Peta Pinson. Photo: Tracey Fairhurst.

Thrilled: Port Macquarie Tidal Pool committee member Fred O'Toole and mayor Peta Pinson. Photo: Tracey Fairhurst.

"The money sounds great but the entire community is unaware of where it is getting built, when it is getting built and to what standard it is getting built," Mr Oakeshott said.

"There was a feasibility study underway, council and the state government are either aware of the detail or haven't released it, or the federal government is making it up as they go along to try and win votes."

Around 50 people attended the community forum with the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister spoke glowingly about Nationals candidate for Cowper Patrick Conaghan at the community forum.

"Pat loves people, he loves serving people and he should be given the opportunity to serve the people of Cowper."

Mr Morrison also took questions from the floor on franking credits, national debt and the Coffs Harbour bypass.

Mr Morrison promised a re-elected Coalition government would fund the full 80 per cent of the Coffs Harbour bypass.

Andrew Crane who asked the question said he wasn't satisfied with the answer because there was no time frame on the announcement.

After the forum the Prime Minister greeted senior citizens, played bingo with locals and dropping in on a ladies morning tea at Port Panthers.

Protesters outside Port Panthers during the Prime Minister's visit to Port Panthers. Photo: Tracey Fairhurst.

Protesters outside Port Panthers during the Prime Minister's visit to Port Panthers. Photo: Tracey Fairhurst.

Outside the venue there was a small protest by locals concerned about environmental issues.

Cherry Muddle from South West Rocks was one of the protesters.

"I want to protect our children's future and I want Scott Morrison to know that he needs to put our children's future ahead of coal and coal billionaires," Ms Muddle said.

"It is about stopping Adani and protecting the interest of corporate billionaires," she said.

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