CALL TO ACTION: Lismore man Rod Bruem is the co-ordinator of a community group being formed to take action on the health of the Richmond River.
CALL TO ACTION: Lismore man Rod Bruem is the co-ordinator of a community group being formed to take action on the health of the Richmond River. Graham Broadhead

Action to heal our Northern Rivers waterways

UPDATE 4.02pm: FUNDING, erosion, sedimentation, weed control and climate change were just some of the many issues addressed in a community planning workshop on June 7.

The meeting was held at Southern Cross University in order to take steps in formulating a detailed proposal to reverse the decline in local waterways and surrounding environment.

It was attended by 30 representatives from key landholders, macadamia farmers, commercial and recreation fishing companies, local government and key government agencies across the Richmond catchment.

Richmond Rivers Rescue co-Convenor, Rod Bruem said the aim of the meeting was to identify key strategies to share with the wider community as well as State and Federal Governments to address water and environmental issues.

"There are a lot of great things happening already in the catchment but there's no real overall coordination as to what is going on and by having more community input and coordination we can potentially achieve a lot more," Mr Bruem said.

Once the discussion has been collated the plan is to have another meeting to finalise decisions and ideas before taking it to government.

"After these workshops we will be bringing it all together into a draft plan and we will hope to have it finished in a matter of months, certainly by the end of the year," Mr Bruem said.

"We met earlier this week with Kevin Hogan, he is going to assist us at the end of the year to take our strategic plan to Canberra and meet some of the key advisors in government to see what can be done in terms of addressing our plan."

"We will also be working with State Government, if there are strategies that obviously involve State Government and indeed Local Government if that is the case."

An overwhelming opinion amongst attendees was that actions taken need to consider education, community engagement, sharing of knowledge/strategies and a series of 'shovel ready' projects ready to be executed when relevant funding is received.

"We shouldn't just be thinking about money to turn things around that we can actually achieve a great deal by working with what we already have and making things work better with more community input," Mr Bruem said.

"It is so encouraging to see the level of commitment from people already in achieving this goal and it's interesting in that three years ago the community really united on another environmental issue which was the coliseum gas issue and as a result a lot of money into stopping that happening, and I think that demonstrated what a community can achieve in working together."

"Our waterways are crucial to our environment they are the arteries of the environment so we hope that the support we have received will continue to grow."

 

Tuesday 10.19am: A COMMUNITY planning workshop is taking place at Southern Cross University today to take steps in formulating a detailed proposal to reverse the decline in local waterways and surrounding environment.

Organised by Richmond Rivers Rescue Inc. the community action group was formed earlier this year after well-attended public meetings in Lismore and Ballina.

Richmond Rivers Rescue co-Convenor, Rod Bruem said the workshops will be attended by representatives from key landholders, agriculture and environmental groups from across the Richmond catchment.

"It's the first time a meeting of this type has been held in Australia, with the community taking charge of a plan to clean up its own waterways," Mr Bruem said.

The aim of the meeting is to identify three key initiatives to share can with the wider community as well as State and Federal Governments to address water and environmental issues. 

"Richmond Rivers Rescue aims to have a draft strategy ready for community comment by the end of 2017. The community workshop is the first important step in brining various groups together and reaching that goal," Mr Bruem said.