Gordon Grainger from the Myall River Action Group write this Letter to the Editor
As a member of the Federal Seat of Paterson, you will have received a Paterson Update from Mr. Bob Baldwin MP over the past few days.
It contains an item headed “Corrie Island Update” and I have attached a copy for those who may have missed it.
The article confirms that both State and Federal Governments will be working together to provide support to restore the Eastern Channel of the Lower Myall, to protect Corrie Island and undertake sand renourishment for Jimmies Beach.
The Federal Government commitment for the project is to be finalised in coming weeks and anticipated to be $750K.
Those funds are to be an integral part of the total cost of approx. $3.7M to allow for dredging, pipeline and hopper infrastructure to be concluded as quickly as possible.
Bob Baldwin is to be commended for his active support over the past 6 years of struggle and his achievement in reaching this apparent conclusion through his Minister Mr. Greg Hunt.
I say “apparent”, as to our disbelief we have learned that subsequent to the Update publication, the Federal Government has now considered that the submission from Great Lakes Council (managers of the project) does not contain sufficient detail on the protection to be provided for Corrie Is., which is Ramsar protected and the responsibility of the Federal Government.
It is their belief that the dredging responsibility remains the function of the State Government and that the bulk of the $750K should be committed to the rehabilitation of Corrie Island.
That no provision has been provided for employment of the “Green Army”, replacement of destroyed mangroves and replacement of eroded coffee rock.
They have placed a time frame of the funds to be completed by June 2015 and have requested Council rework their submission.
As this will require obtaining new grants from a myriad of Government Agencies, the time frame will not be met and the funding is likely to be withdrawn, unless we as a community act decisively—thank the Government for their commitment and failure to meet it will result in further erosion, not only of Corrie Island, but also of the current Parliament.
The channel is a joint responsibility of local Councils and State Government, however what must be understood is that little or no restoration works on the island can even begin until the channel has been established.
Feral animals will be denied access and some of the initial dredging spoil used to direct water flow away from the Corrie Island bank.
Further spoil deposits will consolidate and replace the erosion area and nature will assist in regenerating early plant growth.
It is my understanding that Council funds, together with State funds are in place and that with the Federal assistance, the infrastructure can begin as early as Feb / March.
The withdrawal of these funds will further delay the project which is now being referred to as a political farce of giant proportion (Kate Washington, Labour candidate, Tea Gardens Sunday 14th Dec ).
The Paterson Update requests your views which are important to Mr Baldwin and your thoughts on this must be conveyed to him at the earliest.
He can be reached by writing to Bob Baldwin MP P.O. Box 156 Raymond Terrace NSW 2324 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Tell him to let common sense prevail. Let the project proceed and the refurbishment of Corrie Island will follow.
Myall River Action Group