THE ongoing battle to fund the dredging of the Myall River area known as “The Gut” continues, following the latest response from the NSW Department of Industry, Lands and Forestry.
In a letter just received by the Myall River Action Group, Alison Stone, Deputy Director General of the Department of Industry is sticking to the Government line that it is not responsible for dredging ‘The Gut’.
Ms Stone, writing on behalf of the Minister for Lands Paul Toole, said while mooring fees were paid to the Department of Lands and the Roads and Maritime Services, the mooring charges went towards administration and management costs.
$275,000 is raised annually from the Tea Gardens moorings.
In response, Mr Gordon Grainger of the Myall River Action Group has once again written to the Department of Industry citing six issues at odds with the Government’s latest stand.
Of most concern, is the fact that sand migration has now reached critical phase.
‘The Gut’ has not been dredged since 1961.
“To pass the cost to[MidCoast] Council is nothing short of an abrogation of responsibility and questions the ethics and morality of both Lands and the responsible Government representatives,’’ Mr Grainger said.
”Council has responded they have no funds available, particularly following the recent Council amalgamation.”
“The “Rescuing our Waterways” program, whilst applicable to navigation channels is questionable when referred to private moorings and in any event, Council has rejected the 50:50 funding arrangement.”
“The final question is what can these boat owners do? There are no new mooring areas available within the Tea Gardens/Hawks Nest waterway.”
The Myall River Action Group believes the handling of ‘The Gut’ dredging issue has ramifications for estuaries throughout New South Wales.
State MPs Kate Washington and Stephen Bromhead have both questioned the Department of Industry’s decision.
By: Margie TIERNEY