STATE Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin says river health on the Northern Rivers will finally get some detailed attention under an upcoming $64-million Riparian Restoration Program.
Ms Saffin was advised that New South Wales and the National Recovery and Resilience Agency are finalising arrangements for the program which will focus on the restoration of priority riverine and estuarine habitat in flood-impacted local government areas.
She understands that the Riparian Restoration Program will be delivered by the Department of Regional NSW in partnership with Local Land Services, Department of Primary Industries and the Environment Protection Authority.
“I eagerly await this program as a start to correcting the almost wanton neglect of our rivers,” Ms Saffin says.
“We have denuded and desolate riverbanks, with the Richmond River rated at D and F for river health in some places.
“I am pleased that the NSW Legislative Council Flood Inquiry report recommended that the NSW Government invest in the restoration of the Wilsons and Richmond Rivers to include riparian restoration, water quality and river health improvement.
“I want the Riparian Restoration Program to speak to the Northern Rivers Watershed Initiative (NRWI), a $150-million strategy to restore the Tweed, Brunswick, Richmond and Evans river systems over 10 to 15 years.
“The NRWI had the imprimatur of the Northern Rivers Joint Organisation and broad community support, but despite our best efforts, it never got traction with the NSW Government.
“I have asked the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation for a full briefing of how the program will be rolled out once the finer details are known.”
INQUIRY RECOMMENDATION: Lismore MP Janelle Saffin uses a Parliamentary press conference to welcome findings and recommendations of the Upper House Inquiry into responses to the February-March floods, including one on boosting river health. NSW Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib looks on.