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GRCCC demands improvements to the Georges River

Posted 29 January 2015 by (Hurstville News)

The Georges River Combined Councils’ Committee Inc. (GRCCC), representing Councils, over 1 million residents and recreationists in the Georges River catchment, are concerned with numerous environmental issues impacting the Georges River and are calling on the State Government to address these concerns.

The GRCCC has written to the Environment Minister and State Agencies over 2013 and 2014 calling for action to address a number of significant environmental issues impacting the Georges River such as:

  • The degraded state of important areas along the Georges River and estuary including:
    • Towra Point Nature Reserve, an internationally significant Ramsar wetland where over 200 species of birds reside including migratory sea birds such as Little Terns that make a perilous journey from as far as Siberia to breed and feed at this site. The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) conducts a range of management programs in the Reserve to maintain and improve the RAMSAR values of the wetland. However, severe erosion and sedimentation due to changes in wave action in Botany Bay is impacting the Reserve and predatory foxes and cats are threatening the shorebirds.
    • Yeramba Lagoon in the Georges River National Park. This area was once an estuarine habitat which sheltered juvenile fish however the introduction of a weir (in 1964) has cut off fish passage and turned a former tidal area flushed by saltwater into a stagnant, weed infested freshwater wetland, where large quantities of sediment from the surrounding catchment are trapped. Residents now face ongoing odour problems and fish, such as juvenile mullet, are cut off from their former nursery habitat.
    • The Botany Bay foreshore area. Extensive dune erosion is evident between Brighton Le Sands/Monterey and Sandringham. This erosion has resulted in the loss of public beaches, more dangerous swimming conditions and reduced water quality. The airport runway extension, desalination plant and port extensions have caused hydrological shifts in the Bay. As a consequence altered wave action results in erosion and sedimentation of the shoreline. This popular recreational area is used and enjoyed by numerous residents, Sydney siders and overseas tourists and must be protected. There is also a strong Aboriginal cultural heritage association with Botany Bay.
  • The introduction of the Rural Fire Services 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Bill has led to the unnecessary loss of trees and natural areas that provide habitat for threatened and endangered flora and fauna throughout the Georges River Catchment.
  • The proposed Moorebank Intermodal Terminal will have a negative impact on water quality in the Georges River and the proposal will require the clearing of extensive areas of vegetation resulting in a loss of flora and fauna.
  • The need for a Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) to encourage people to recycle plastic bottles and containers, similar to the successful 10c refund schemes in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

In the last three years alone, approx. 290 tonnes of rubbish was removed from the Georges River foreshores, creeks and tributaries. The GRCCC is encouraged by the recent NSW Government announcement to implement a CDS and looks forward to further details on how the scheme will operate.

The GRCCC calls on the Government to commit to address these environmental concerns and protect and restore significant natural areas along the Georges River. "The Georges River Combined Councils’ Committee urges the State Government to work with local government and the NPWS to ensure adequate resources are allocated to address our concerns," said GRCCC Chairperson Cr Naji Peter Najjar.

The GRCCC is an incorporated association of nine local government councils working in partnership with state and federal government agencies and community representatives to improve the health of the Georges River catchment. The GRCCC represents local government in the Georges River Catchment of NSW. Member councils include Rockdale City, Sutherland Shire, Kogarah City, Hurstville City, Bankstown City, Liverpool City, Fairfield City, Campbelltown City and Wollondilly Shire councils.

For more information, contact Svetlana Kotevska at skotevska@hurstville.nsw.gov.au or 9330 6057.

Media Enquiries: Svetlana Kotevska, GRCCC at 9330 6057 or skotevska@hurstville.nsw.gov.au

ENDS