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Drainage meeting a step closer to a solution

May 17, 2021

Drainage meeting a step closer to a solution

May 17, 2021

A solution to solving long-standing drainage issues affecting land owners in the Herbert River District is a step closer following a key meeting between Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto, Hinchinbrook Mayor Ramon Jayo and Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) officials in Brisbane last week.  

DAF Fisheries and Forestry Deputy Director-General Graeme Bolton agreed at the meeting to fly up and personally inspect dead and overgrown vegetation which is causing prolonged inundation of cane crops in the lower Herbert area. 

Mr Dametto said the meeting was an “important milestone”. 

“I felt the meeting was very productive and I’d like to thank Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Minister Mark Furner for his assistance in organising it,” Mr Dametto said. 

“The meeting with DAF officials and the Deputy Director-General allowed Mayor Jayo and I to present a clear picture of the issue and what measures we believed were needed to address this dead and overgrown vegetation that continues to clog up creeks and drains.” 

Cr Jayo said there was no doubt dead and overgrown vegetation in historic drains had “reduced the capacity of the drains to discharge storm water resulting in water being held back and failing to dissipate for longer periods of time”. 

“This occurs because of the damming effect that this vegetation creates by capturing other floating items such as grass weed and timber debris within the drainage systems. The concern in this regard is that cane crops in the lower Herbert area suffering from inundation of flood water is exposed to lengthier periods of inundation resulting in damage, if not total loss, of crop and stool,” he said.  

“I am appreciative and grateful of the Deputy Director General’s offer to come and look as I feel that a real appreciation of our problem will be gained.” 

Cr Jayo said council had engaged James Cook University to undertake a study into the proposed practices and likely effects of managing problem vegetation, with the study indicating no untoward effect on the eco-system would occur by the methods proposed. 

I felt that the State representatives at the meeting understood our predicament and were keen to look for a way forward. We were able to explain to them the history and purpose of the drains in question, with particular reference to the land openings for soldier settlement and that the drains were initially constructed under the lawful guidance of the State to further the agricultural potential of our District back during the cane expansion periods of the 1960s and 1970s.”  

 

Mr Dametto said he felt council had proven to DAF they could manage dead and overgrown vegetation in a sustainable manner and looked forward to hearing a further update from Mr Bolton following his visit to the Herbert River District. 

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