A group of concerned locals met with Murray River Council engineers on Tuesday, June 8 to discuss the proposed stabilisation works of the riverbank.
The current erosion has been spiralling out of control ever since the Australian Federal Government developed a plan to ironically ‘save the Murray’. Under the current Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) management, over 300km of the Murray’s natural constraints have been severely eroded taking with it trees, habitats, infrastructure, and any last remaining hope that the MDBA actually care for the country and her communities.
The first draft plan for rip rock had made allowances for rock from the bridge upstream on the NSW side of the river and extending past the boat ramp and to cover the beach.
In no uncertain terms, the group in attendance requested the beach to be excluded from any works, as it had not been eroded and was crucial to locals for swimming, fishing, and boating.
With the target area now focused from the boat ramp downstream to the bridge, discussions were had about what the community would like to see.
The consensus of the meeting was that rip rock should only be used as an interim measure on the most affected spots, the big hole on the upstream side of the boardwalk and working downstream to the hole developing adjacent to the pontoon gangway.
A longer-term vision was proposed to terrace the complete distance from the boat ramp to the bridge. The terrace proposed would reflect the current steps between the boardwalk and boat ramp and would mean no rocks would be visible.
While the terrace was the only option that seemed palatable to the community groups there, a significant number of hurdles must be overcome with seven government departments to approve proposals. They include the Natural Resources Access Regulator; Maritime NSW; NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment; the Murray-Darling Basin Authority; Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning; NSW Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries; and the Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment.
Another significant hurdle is funding. Those who destroy the river would appear to have little accountability to pay for the restoration, so Murray River Council will have to apply to State and Federal Governments for grants to complete the works.
Thank you to Murray River Council for a constructive meeting.
This article appeared in The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper, 10 June 2021.