Minister for the Environment, Lisa Neville, has been asked to reconsider the closure of Rivermouth Road to vehicular traffic pending more consultation with local residents and recreational fishers.
Speaking in Parliament today, State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said he had previously written to the Minister on the issue, who whilst acknowledging some current users would be affected, did not provide any optimism in relation to reconsidering the decision.
“Since that time, I have had more people raising concerns with my office, generally around the fact they had no idea this closure was being planned as the consultation seemed very narrow. Many of the local angling clubs apparently had no idea this was proposed,” Mr Bull said.
“There have also been concerns relating to the fact elderly anglers, bird watchers and tourists with limited mobility will no longer be able to access this popular fishing and tourist location,” he said.
“The mouth will also be closed to emergency vehicles, which I am advised have used the location in the past, in times when an on-water emergency has necessitated.
“On top of all this, there is an over-arching view we have to stop limiting access to popular public areas and rather focus on maintaining access so the entire community can enjoy them.
“I am fully supportive of the need to protect the silt jetties from erosion and avoid them being reduced to a series of islands. My query is if we are to maintain the width for a walking track, why not maintain it as a very low speed road so all can enjoy it as I have not seen any evidence cars travelling at slow speeds are greatly contributing to the erosion.
“In the interim, I have urged the Minister to hold off on proceeding with this closure until much wider consultation has taken place as if this proceeds, it will be difficult to reverse at any stage in the future when works are completed, vegetation has been planted along the existing road and the silt jetty itself has become too narrow to maintain a road width,” Mr Bull said.