MEDIA RELEASE – 31 MAY 2012
Liberal candidate for Bass Andrew Nikolic, said that Labor MHR Geoff Lyons’ continuing unwillingness to lobby his colleagues for funds to dredge the upper Tamar River is a poorly-considered policy, which is resulting in further silt build-up that will cost more to fix in the future.
“Like many in community I was amazed to hear Mr Lyons say on 29 January 2012 that: “I don’t have the answer…Eventually, there is probably going to be some form of dredging.”
‘Lyons says he won’t lobby for silt funds,’ The Examiner, Monday 30 January 2012, p.2
“Yet for much of the 20th Century, dredging and raking have been essential requirements of river management – particularly if performed concurrently with heavy rain periods. This has helped flush out the upper reaches of the Tamar, maintained shipping access, supported small business activities reliant on the River, and enhanced recreational and tourism use.
“Recent heavy rains could have been an opportunity to undertake some dredging and raking, if only the State Labor-Greens Government and the Labor Member for Bass had done their jobs.
“Mr Lyons unwillingness to take any action on this issue is an abrogation of his responsibilities as the Member for Bass and he must urgently reconsider his position.
“In refusing to take any action, Mr Lyons has ignored the recommendations of Launceston City Council’s 2009 Siltation Report and their request for Federal and State government assistance.
“The Bartlett-Giddings Governments repeatedly promised money for dredging of the Tamar but never delivered. Now Mr Lyons says he won’t even bother trying to lobby for funds in Canberra and is ‘missing in action’ on yet another policy problem.
“Although there are longer-term issues to resolve in relation to the health of the River across all levels of government, carefully-planned dredging and raking at periodic intervals must be part of our response,” Mr Nikolic said.
Mr Nikolic said there was a clear contrast between Labor and Liberal policy positions on this issue.
“In comparison to Labor inaction, I have secured a Coalition promise that on forming government, $2.5 million will be provided for emergency dredging of the Tamar River.
“The Tamar is the lifeblood of Launceston, the Tamar Valley and North-East Tasmania, with silt accumulation hurting regional recreation and tourism.”
“It is Labor’s inaction that continues to tarnish what should be an environmental jewel of Tasmania,” Mr Nikolic said.