Senator Brian Burston took time out from his busy schedule to visit Batemans Bay last week. The Senator who resides in the Lake Macquarie area, has more than a passing interest in NSW coastal management issues. He has witnessed sea level rise hysteria in his own backyard and is rightly concerned about the economic damage that will be caused if the NSW government persists with its current plan to enact new coastal management legislation.
After meeting with members of the NSW Coastal Alliance, Eurobodalla Coast Alliance, a Surfside residents group and a representative of the Wharf Road property owners, Senator Burston was appalled at the way extreme climate change ideologies have influenced coastal management policies in the Eurobodalla. He was astounded that a local council, in cahoots with the NSW Office of Heritage and Environment, could declare inundated private land forfeited to the state, misuse environmental E2 zoning to sterilise the development potential of the remaining foreshore land and then propose to buy the land back at its sterilised value. He was surprised to learn that after developing these draconian “planned retreat” policies for the old Wharf Road subdivision, the council has made a submission to NSW Roads and Maritime to reclaim the land for government purposes “when it was back in public hands”.
Eurobodalla Council’s approach to its general Coastal Management Program and Estuary Management Plans was no less concerning. The Senator learned that 6,000 properties or 25% of the rateable properties in the shire have been found “at risk” in Council and OEH studies incorporating their adopted climate change predictions. This includes large sections of the CBDs in the main townships of Batemans Bay, Moruya and Narooma.
According to Senator Burston, “if most of the desirable beach, lake and riverfront land is labelled with a vulnerable area classification under the proposed NSW coastal management legislation, developers will flee the shire and affected property owners could lose much of the value in their primary asset. "This is not good enough in a country that has the expertise and engineering skills to develop and implement coastal protection measures. "Even those who believe in the sea level rise and the climate change predictions of the extreme left must recognise the dire economic consequences of drawing hazard lines on maps without offering a solution to mitigate the perceived risks.”
The Senator was provided with a report prepared by a local engineer and endorsed by one of Australia’s leading coastal engineers that proves that damage caused to the natural sand bars in Batemans Bay and the Clyde estuary was the result of government-controlled sea wall constructions and dredging. Locals believe that it is this erosion of the natural protection that has exposed them to the risk of coastal storms and not climate change.
Senator Burston has written to the state member and the responsible minister suggesting that they take the findings of the erosion report seriously. He will recommend that they undertake works to restore the protection previously provided by the damaged sand shoals, before the Eurobodalla is hit by another “super storm” like the one that decimated Batemans Bays Wharf Road subdivision in the 1970s.
Photos courtesy of Brian Burston - NSW Senate - One Nation Face Book