Bird’s eye view identifies river works

An aerial photo of the Herbert River taken during Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto’s survey last Tuesday.

A THOROUGH aerial inspection of the Herbert River has helped Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto gain a clear understanding of one of his electorate’s most important eco-systems.

Mr Dametto was joined by Herbert River Improvement Trust chairman Arthur Bosworth for the two hour survey of the river via helicopter last Tuesday, which extended from Abergowrie down to the mouth of the river at Lucinda’s Enterprise Channel.

“The low level flyover accomplished several things. It helped paint a clear picture of the overall river system, highlighted areas which the Herbert River Trust have improved in terms of flood mitigation and identified other areas of concern, like river bank erosion and problematic sand islands, which will need to be attended to by the Trust,” Mr Dametto said.

“Arthur was able to provide a detailed explanation of each of the areas we looked at, including places like the mouth of Stone River, the pumping station, Cordelia and Halifax which is prone to erosion and flooding during the wet season.

“It’s important to remember we are dealing with a river system that is constantly evolving, with water flow difficult to predict year on year.”
In early January, State Development Minister Cameron Dick announced $390,000 for the Trust to raise the Halifax flood levee by 20 centimetres to increase the community’s resilience to flooding.

The Halifax flood levee was constructed in 2006 and has protected the town from flooding during severe weather events in 2009, 2014 and 2018.

It followed a government decision to cut $300,000 from the State Council of River Trusts Queensland (SCRTQ) last year, which allocates funding to river trusts across the state.

The move meant the SCRTQ was left with a funding pool of only $300,000 for its river trusts from next financial year, forcing them to allocate a fixed amount of only about $36,000 to the Herbert River Improvement Trust.

The Trust conducts works across the Herbert River District, including in Stone River, Cattle Creek, Frances Creek, Ripple Creek, Seymour River, Crystal Creek and the Herbert River itself.

It is jointly funded by Hinchinbrook Shire Council, the State Government and adjoining landowners, with occasional access to Federal funding.

“While it was extremely disappointing that the government decided to make this cut to the SCRTQ last year, I was pleased when they announced funding to raise the Halifiax flood levee,” Mr Dametto said.

“I am also aware of concerns from local landowners about raising the levee and the potential impact it might have on their properties, which is why I decided to take up the opportunity to inspect the Herbert River from the air in order to gain a better understanding of its complexity. Even with the best hydrologists and civil engineers on board, controlling what nature does is seldom an exact science.

“Protecting farm land, property and implementing flood mitigation strategies would have to be one of the most difficult tasks to undertake. I will continue to work with the Trust and all stakeholders to try and find solutions that can benefit everybody within the Herbert River catchment.”

The Herbert River Improvement Trust will hold a meeting at Hinchinbrook Shire Council chambers in Ingham on February 7 from 9am to 10am. Interested members of the public are urged to attend.

Nick Dametto MP