Erosion on the Murray Delta Islands

Erosion on the Murray Delta Islands

On 12 February Andrew addressed parliament about the erosion issues facing the Murray Delta Islands community:

I rise today to share the concerns of the delta islands residents in my electorate of Canning. Located in the Shire of Murray, the Murry River delta islands area is a network of low-lying islands and estuaries where the Murray and Serpentine rivers meet the Peel Harbour estuary. In the 1970s and eighties, the estuaries were attacked by algal bloom as a result of nutrient run-off and stagnation.

To overcome this problem,a decision was made in the nineties to build a channel between the estuary and ocean at Dawesville. The channel would ensure that nutrient-rich estuary water could flush out to sea, and that the incoming salt water could restrict algae growth. While the Dawesville cut has solved the algae problem, the increased salinity in the estuary has resulted in serious erosion of the riverbanks, particularly in the delta islands area of South Yunderup.

After being contacted by a frustrated group of island residents who have been battling this for years, I recently visited the islands to examine the erosion myself. The erosion is significant—much like its effect on local housing prices. 

Led by Don MacLure, the delta island residents have offered their time and labour to the Shire of Murray to install infrastructure that would solve and slow the effects of erosion. Instead, the shire is focused on combating rising sea levels, which are unlikely to affect the islands until 2070—if, indeed, you accept the modelling.

Given the very real threat of erosion, I understand the residents' frustration with the Shire of Murray's priorities. I hope that, under new president David Bolt, the Shire of Murray will use its resources to address the erosion in South Yunderup.

The Murray  Delta Islands residents deserve practical solutions. I look forward to working together to deliver them.