27 C
Byron Shire
February 27, 2021

River health – or lack of it

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How long has it been since you felt like it was safe to swim in the river or eat fish out of it?

When I was growing up we would often eat flathead, catfish and even eel out the Richmond and Wilsons’ River.

I wouldn’t now – who would?

The Richmond River and its tributaries have been designated the most degraded on the East Coast of Australia. Seventy percent of the fish habitat has been destroyed, and the river’s quality rating has plummeted to D (presumably for dead).

Meanwhile the Liberal National State government have responded to this environmental tragedy by commissioning yet another risk management strategy.

We know what’s wrong! We don’t need a media release and a million on more hot air and crocodile tears.

Urban and farm pollution have turned this artery of life into a sewer of death.

As recently as September of this year 13 cows were pulled dead from the Richmond and its tributaries and the State and local governments couldn’t even work out whose responsibility it was to clean up the mess, let alone who was going to prosecute the owners of the cattle for polluting our water supply.

People need to be held accountable for how they treat the river! We need to have covenants, and river wardens in place to ensure the river has a chance to recover and we need to incentivise river rehabilitation.

That’s what the Greens have committed to do and its about time the other parties came on board. This shouldn’t be a party-political thing – rivers are far too important to become pieces in a political voting game. The Richmond needs a commitment in the order of $100 million, it’s what the experts say it needs and it’s past time that every candidate for the next election agreed to the same.

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