Communities find strength in numbers

TWO campaigns to have local waterways dredged have joined forces.

The Sussex Inlet Safe Navigation Group and the Conjola District Lake Care Association presented South Coast MP Shelley Hancock with a combined petition of 7000 names to have the two waterways dredged.

Conjola District Lake Care Association vice president Robyn Kerves said the groups asked Mrs Hancock to present the petitions to parliament.

“We asked Shelley to write to the minister in charge of the Office of Environment and Heritage [Robyn Parker] to let her know that a dredging approval from her office is necessary for our lake and local tourism to survive,” Mrs Kerves said.

“We also asked her to write to the minister in charge of Crown lands [Katrina Hodgkinson] to seek a change in the ruling to have funds raised on Crown Lands spent back on that same land, rather than being placed into one fund for all Crown lands.

“We say that because over last five years the Bendalong and Conjola caravan parks which are on Crown lands have raised a net profit of $11.5 million.”

Mrs Kerves said part of that money could have been put toward dredging.

“By joining with Sussex we hope to show council and ministers that there are enough people who want this,” she said.

Mrs Hancock said a strong petition could help the cause.

“I will take the petitions to parliament after recess. I think the main point is that these communities are now working together.

“A petition like this can make a difference. When you’ve got that many signatures it makes people sit up and think, ‘Right, we’ve got a whole community who want this and they have waited and lobbied for a long time.’”

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