River of Confusion for Myall River system

MYALL RIVER ACTION GROUP: Gordon Grainger.
MYALL RIVER ACTION GROUP: Gordon Grainger.

Confusing, that’s the only word to describe who has the final say when it comes to the maintenance and health of the Lower Myall River system.

Here’s why.

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Crown Lands owns the seabed, Marine Parks has the responsibility from the water surface down to the sea bed, while National Parks and Wildlife is responsible for the water surface upward, that’s above the water line (within national parks).

Then add to the mix, MidCoast Council, Port Stephens Council, the Department of Primary Industries and associated State Government agencies.

Is it any wonder there’s confusion and red tape?

The Department of Primary Industries recently invited a delegation from the Myall River Action Group to a workshop with community and council representatives to discuss the Ports of Crowdy Head, Tuncurry and Tea Gardens.

The Tea Gardens group was comprised of Peter Pritchard, Clarrie Davison and Gordon Grainger.

The aim of the workshop was to get feedback on the future of port assets both social and economic.

“It was obvious from the beginning that this was a typical talk fest,” Gordon Grainger (MRAG) told News Of The Area.

“The Department of Primary Industries wanted a wish list into the future,” he said.

“We took the opportunity to underline just where Crown Lands/DPI had failed us in the past and how that failure was continuing.’’

”We also pointed out that State funds were necessary to support Council in the maintenance of the (Eastern) shortcut channel and that financial assistance was needed to dredge the Gut.

“A cheque for $200 thousand dollars would complete the project,” said Mr Grainger.

“The restrictive and confusing responsibilities of Crown Lands need to be addressed,” Mr Grainger said.

“The ownership of all seabeds and the necessity of numerous approvals to conduct any activity is onerous and involves many State Agencies reporting to the same Minister.”

“It is time consuming, confusing and in need of revision,” said Mr Grainger.

The Myall River Action Group is calling on the community to join together as a collective voice to bring these anomalies to Government attention before the next State election scheduled to be held in 2019.

By Margie Tierney

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