Five year campaign pays off for Port MacDonnell

Tuesday February 08, 2022

SE Voice 8th Feb.PNG

By Lechelle Earl


Dredging to improve Bay harbour safety The Port MacDonnell harbour will be dredged T in coming months following a lengthy campaign by Independent MP Troy Bell and the Port MacDonnell Professional Fishermen's Association. Over the last 10 years, the harbour has filled with sand and weeds, causing damage to engines and a risk to both professional and recreational fishers, prompting a campaign to get it cleared by dredging. The Member for Mount Gambier has raised the issue of dredging in State Parliament no less than eight times in the last five years, describing it a "major safety risk". "Port MacDonnell harbour is home to the largest rock lobster fleets in the Southern Hemisphere and they deserve a safe workplace," he said. "When recreational and professional fishers cannot move in and out of the harbour and refuel without risk of damage to their boats, that's a major problem. "Finally, to have the announcement that it's going ahead with a firm timeline is great news for the community of Port MacDonnell and the many people who utilise that facility." Mr Bell said the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport had informed him the dredging works would go ahead in April this year, with a Department of Infrastructure and Transport contractor on site for around six weeks. The works have been timed for the favourable weather conditions and to avoid a clash with the start of the 2022 rock lobster season. Mr Bell called the works "long overdue". "The last time the harbour was dredged was 15 years ago," Mr Bell said. "Meanwhile, fishers pay in excess of $100,000 per year to the State Government in licensing and fees. "Hundreds of millions of State Government funds are shelled out for sand dredging on metropolitan beaches, in what is termed as 'vital infrastructure'. "The harbour is essential infrastructure for Port MacDonnell and its fantastic news to see the community get these much-needed works before the start of the 2022 season."