$12 million Federal Government support for Torres Strait Coastal Protection
The Minister for Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin, Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean and Senator for Queensland Jan McLucas today announced up to $12 million to help fund coastal protection works in the Torres Strait.
The Commonwealth funding includes a $5 million grant to the Torres Strait Island Regional Council from Round 2 of the Regional Development Australia Fund and up to $7 million in additional funding.
Ms Macklin said seawalls and other coastal management measures will help the most vulnerable Torres Strait Island communities in their battle against the impacts of king tides.
“The seawalls will help prevent damage caused by coastal erosion and inundation, and will also protect existing infrastructure in the communities,” Ms Macklin said.
“I know people in the communities of the Torres Strait are very concerned by the coastal erosion and sea water inundation during king tides.
“This is why the Australian Government is doing all that it can to support the local council and the regional authority, the communities and the people living on the islands to protect their homes.”
Ms Macklin called on the Queensland Government to also provide its share of funding for the up to $24 million Torres Strait Coastal Protection Works project.
“The Australian Government is doing its part so that communities in the Torres Strait can get on with this important work. I encourage the Queensland Government to match funding of up to $12 million to fund this important project.”
The Australian Government’s $12 million investment will be provided to the Torres Strait Island Regional Council and the Torres Strait Regional Authority who will work in partnership to deliver the sea walls in six island communities.
Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean said the Torres Strait Island Regional Council is one of the organisations in regional Australia joining the dots and has been successful in their application under the Round Two of the almost $1 billion RDAF program.
“This is a complex issue that has required considerable engagement across the Commonwealth Government,” Mr Crean said.
“The $5 million grant to the Torres Strait Island Regional Council for the most vulnerable islands, Boigu and Sabai, will be protected by the construction of new, or replacement of old sea walls and wave return walls.
“Importantly this project will build important infrastructure that will serve the Torres Strait Island community now and into the future.
“The sea wall will protect the community from annual tidal inundation and significant coastal erosion adjacent to key community assets and infrastructure.”
Ministers Macklin and Crean acknowledged the strong advocacy and support provided by Queensland Senator Jan McLucas, who has travelled many times to the Torres Strait from her Cairns base, toward finding a funding solution to address this community need.
Senator McLucas said the Torres Strait Coastal Protection Works project will make an important contribution to the Torres Strait community.
“The Torres Strait Coastal Protection Works project has been selected because the project’s proponents have leveraged funding and demonstrated clear long-term regional benefits, including jobs and opportunities for the broader region.
“This project will deliver a clear social and economic dividend for the region. It aims to prevent the significant economic impact caused through damage to community assets and infrastructure. This project will also create local employment opportunities during the construction phase which will include training and skills development,” she said.
Mr Crean said this Government was committed to regional Australia and regional development and upcoming rounds of the RDAF would be announced in coming months.
The Federal Government is investing $200 million in projects across Australia in the second stage of the five-year regional funding program,” Mr Crean said.
“In Queensland alone, eight projects have been funded under RDAF Round Two with the Australian Government contributing $33.67 million to projects worth more than $134 million.
“The Regional Development Australia Fund is providing communities across Australia with vital funding to improve local community infrastructure and diversify their economic base.
“The RDAF is part of the rollout of the Federal Government’s $4.3 billion commitment towards regional investments including health and hospitals, skills, higher education and infrastructure.
More information on the Regional Development Australia Fund and all projects can be found at www.regional.gov.au