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Moruya Bypass Flood Studies Put the Cart Before the Horse


The recent declaration of a La Nina event for this summer, combined with widespread rains and associated flooding across southeast Australia including the Eurobodalla region, have shone the spotlight on flood planning and preparation. The most important current example of flood planning in the Eurobodalla is the Moruya Bypass. The Moruya Bypass Action Group is concerned there are significant unresolved questions regarding the preferred corridor route on flooding and drainage across Mullenderee and Mynora Flats, as well as Moruya township.

The Moruya Bypass Action Group represents a diverse collection of the Eurobodalla community who are deeply concerned about the processes involved in the selection of the Transport for NSW’s preferred Moruya Bypass corridor, as well as the impacts of this corridor on productive agricultural land, people’s homes and livelihoods, local businesses, the environment as well as the amenity and social fabric of our town. The Moruya Bypass Action Group notes that Transport for NSW recently announced it would be undertaking a “flooding and floor level survey” in the Moruya area. While it is important that these investigations are undertaken, it prompts the following questions:


1) Shouldn’t the bypass route be chosen AFTER conducting detailed flood studies? (rather than picking a preferred route BEFORE doing detailed flood studies, as TFNSW has done);

2) When, if ever, will TFNSW publicly release the results of these investigations?


These questions highlight significant deficiencies in Transport for NSW’s approach to choosing the best route for the Moruya Bypass.


Instead of conducting detailed investigations of critical project aspects such as flooding and drainage, soils & geology, environmental and cultural heritage before selecting a bypass route, which can then be analysed and shared with the community, Transport for NSW have chosen their preferred route behind closed doors on the basis of limited desktop studies and flawed “tick the box” community consultation, just after catastrophic bushfires and during a global pandemic. As a result, they have chosen the longest, most expensive and destructive route which will potentially worsen flooding in town.


According to Transport for NSW’s Moruya Bypass Strategic Options Report, a flood study was undertaken by consultants Rhelm in 2020, but despite several requests during and since the consultation period, it has never been publicly released. Potential flooding impacts were raised in multiple submissions to Transport for NSW regarding their preferred bypass corridor, with some (including the Moruya Business Chamber) querying the accuracy of data from the Rhelm flood study. Despite this uncertainty over such a critical issue, Transport for NSW has chosen not to release the Rhelm study so it could be independently assessed by the Moruya community as part of the consultation process for the preferred bypass route.


The impact of an 8 kilometre long, 5 metre high concrete land-bridge on flooding and drainage across a relatively confined south coast valley floodplain demands detailed analysis and consideration before plunging into a preferred corridor route. This has clearly not occurred. The Moruya Bypass Action Group considers this is unacceptable and is seeking release of the Rhelm study under NSW Freedom of Information provisions.


Moruya Bypass Action Group say "Transport for NSW’s track record in dealing with community during the Batemans Bay Bridge project does little to instil confidence that any of these Moruya flood studies will be forthcoming without community action. Transport for NSW promised to undertake an Independent Coastal Impact Study dealing with flooding and erosion impacts of the Batemans Bay Bridge project but concerned residents are still waiting for stage 2 of this project, despite the method and scope being identified back in June 2019. Transport for NSW have moved on to other projects, leaving Batemans Bay locals in the lurch. Will the Moruya community suffer the same fate?"


The Moruya Bypass Action Group also believes it is unacceptable that Transport for NSW has not issued the Community Consultation report arising from their Moruya Bypass community consultation process which was due for release in August 2021. "We continue to ask for its release at the earliest opportunity. The community is being starved of existing information and kept in the dark regarding processes and project costings at a time when the urgently-needed new Level 4 Eurobodalla Hospital and associated health services are struggling to attract adequate NSW government funding."

The Moruya Bypass Action Group were invited to run a stall at the recent “Open The Door at Level 4” Rally (see photo), which drew a big crowd to Moruya as well as attracting widespread media attention.


"The Moruya Bypass Action Group invites you to find out more about what the proposed Moruya Bypass means for our community. Help us get a better bypass and a more transparent consultation process for this major project by going to the Moruya Bypass Action Group website at https://moruyabypass.org/. You can sign our petition and access links to the OneEurobodalla Hospital petition and Facebook page."



Above:The Moruya Bypass Action Group stall attracted interest at the recent rain–affected “Open the Door at Level 4” Hospital Rally

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