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CURRENT UPDATE – 30 August 2022:
Complaints have lessened of late, mainly due to weather conditions and recent dredging, but concerns remain about more effective and timely maintenance dredging in and around the channel, as well as the long-term solution.
I firstly wish to thank the Coast Guard and other marine operators who I have been in contact with while we await the State Government’s formal response to requests for action.
Maritime Safety Queensland has announced that invitations are going out to key stakeholders, including the Coast Guard, Commercial Fishers and Harbour Business Owners regarding the harbour entrance works. They have said that the wider community should get a say later this year.
I believe it is important that more information is released with timely and open consultation with the stakeholders and the community, so the right solutions are chosen and implemented and the process is transparent.
I also have submitted the following Question On Notice in Parliament to Transport Minister Bailey on 16 August:
With reference to communications regarding the dangerous Mooloolaba Harbour Entrance dated 6 May 2022, 13 May 2022, 17 May 2022, 8 June 2022, 22 June 2022 and 8 July 2022, that have not been answered by the Minister, will the Minister please advise:
(a) the timeline and process for establishing the reference group and public consultation into the solution for making the harbour entrance safe and reliable?
(b) confirm the funding allocated for undertaking the implementation for a more permanent solution?
(c) confirm in the interim if Maritime Safety Queensland will undertake a more aggressive dredging program to ensure the harbour entrance is safe and reliable until a permanent solution is put in place?
I expect to receive an answer to the question by 19 September.
*UPDATE: due to passing of Her Majesty the Queen, Parliamentary Sitting commencing 13 September has been postponed. The Question On Notice will now be submitted on 11 October, with the answer from the Minister due by 11 November.
TIME FOR ACTION & TRANSPARENCY ON HARBOUR FIX
THE Mooloolaba Harbour entrance may look like smooth sailing due to calmer weather and a temporary dredging fix at the moment, but calls for a permanent solution and consultation continues.
It’s time for action and for transparency about the plans.
This can’t be kicked down the road and timelines stretched for years, as that threatens lives as the harbour entrance will silt again and weather will turn. Even the dredging that has been done hasn’t fixed the problem.
After months of groundings and dangerous incidents damaging boats and reputations, and threatening lives, why isn’t there money in the budget to fix this properly?
The Minister talks about launching consultation soon, but only $400,000 is budgeted for the harbour for dredging and bed levelling, which is lowest amount we’ve seen in several years. That’s not funding for a plan to fix the entrance. That’s also not being transparent about all the options that are being considered which address maritime safety and the environment.”
I understand stakeholders are being approached to join a reference panel, but there is no timeframe and no transparency about the process.
I would like to know why Transport Minister Bailey spends more time on Twitter than answering correspondence. There are 6 outstanding letters I’ve written to Minister Bailey outlining the need for urgent action on the harbour, and he hasn’t answered:
- The funding allocated for undertaking the consultation and implementation for a more permanent solution;
- The plan for a more timely and aggressive dredging program to ensure and maintain that the harbour entry is safe and reliable;
- Provision of Coastal Engineers to answer questions and engage so that the best solution which addresses maritime safety and the environment is found;
- And, the plan for a permanent solution.
I want to see action and the plan for the right solution.