Every year for the past eight years, ever since the Healthy Waterways project began conducting monitoring and reporting of Oxley Creek as a catchment in its own right, it has received a Fail.
Quest published a little of a local policy initiative on Oxley Creek.
Here are some more issues to note about what the Greens would do to clean up Oxley Creek after decades of neglect.
It is time we moved from scientific data collection and analysis to on the ground works to resolve the problems in the catchment.
In 2010 the government had invested in yet another consultants report to provide a plan for healthy waterways by 2026.
Even this only came about because some of the community groups frustrated by the lack of government action pressed for an implementation plan.
It is now 2012, Oxley Creek is still unfit for recreational use, and it is time that both state and local governments stopped abusing the good will of community groups which have put in so much time and effort into re-vegetation of banks and flood plains.
It is urgent that both state and local governments make the data on e coli levels and suspended solids in the lower creek publicly available.
The community-government-business partnerships of the healthy waterways and of the Oxley Creek Catchment Association mean they can only act as advocates and public education centre for the catchment’s creeks.
This structure is too informal and uncertain.
The OCCA does not have the resources to upgrade the two sewerage treatment plants or to enforce the law when industries are caught illegally dumping to the creek.
The Oxley Creek Catchment Association has only a handful of staff who survive through grants and from project to project.’
The Greens' program for Oxley Creek that would require the state government to:
- Make all scientific data on Oxley Creek publicly available
- Require an annual report card that lists:
investigations of all pollution sources and
all actions taken to respond including:
engineering works to repair sewerage leaks, upgrade overflowing or mismanaged sewerage treatment plants,
installation of security cameras and sensors to detect illegal disposal into drains and creeks, and
prosecutions carried out during the year to enforce anti-dumping provisions on individuals and businesses.
- Relocation of local businesses immediately adjacent to the creek with known history of flooding and significant pollution potential, such as car/scrap metal dealers
- Require local members of the adjoining seats to present the report to parliament.
We need to make our elected representatives take responsibility and see that the Department of the Environment and Resource Management actually starts meeting some health waterways objectives.
Such a scheme would be more expensive than the almost charitable structure of the OCCA but Oxley Creek keeps failing in terms of public health. The government must be grateful no one has so far contracted disease from contact with the water.