House debates

Thursday, 10 December 2020


Forde Electorate: Logan and Albert Rivers

11:53 am

Photo of Bert Van ManenBert Van Manen (Forde, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Stretching over 286 kilometres, the Logan and Albert rivers have sustained the people of Forde for generations past and will do for generations to come. Over tens of thousands of years, the traditional owners of the land, the Yugambeh people, have camped, fished and lived along the banks of these two great rivers. More recently, the early German settlers in the mid-1800s found a peaceful haven overlooking these two rivers. Thereafter, these two beautiful rivers, nestled between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, have provided a living for people on their banks and everywhere else in between.

With the advent of early European settlement came dairy and cane farming, and the cane farming industry in particular still survives to this day. At its peak, the region was amongst the world's biggest and best sugar producing areas. In fact, the cane farms are still present today and Australia's oldest rum distillery, the Beenleigh Artisan Distillery, was born here and continues to distil the finest rum from vats of over 100 years old. The Rocky Point Sugar Mill, the only privately owned sugar mill in Australia, was established in 1879 on the banks of the Logan River in the Woongoolba area, which is in the electorate of Fadden—so my neighbour Stuart Robert's. From the rum distillery, to the cane farms, to the sugar mill, to a growing aquaculture industry, and, historically, to the dairy industry as well, the rivers and the industries born on their banks continue to flourish.

Today, in the modern era, the Logan and Albert rivers present us with different opportunities to pursue an ecotourism future focused on providing fun-filled experiences for tourists, families and recreational fishers alike. The Logan River Tinny Trail—an initiative of Logan City Council—is the beginning of this river based tourism dream, offering a self-guided heritage trail to provide an insight into the river's fascinating history, using a range of interpretive signs.

Mother Nature has provided us with these two great rivers, and it is our duty as custodians of the land to protect them, just as our Indigenous Australians have for millennia before us. The Morrison government's Fisheries Habitat Restoration Program will deliver $8 million in funding for 28 restoration projects across the country, including, importantly, in the Logan and Albert rivers. Under the program, $300,000 will be delivered for the Fishers for Fish Habitat on the Logan Albert rivers project, a collaborative and coordinated effort to restore the once-thriving fish population in these iconic South-East Queensland rivers. Implementing components of an approved strategic fish habitat restoration plan, this project will be spearheaded by Healthy Land and Water, an organisation with over 20 years experience in working to improve the natural environment. As experts in research, monitoring and project management, Healthy Land and Water deliver innovative, science based solutions for challenges affecting our landscape, waterways and biodiversity. Healthy Land and Water will spearhead this project with local community and stakeholders.

Some of the activities to be undertaken in the project include: at Ryedale Park establishing and monitoring fisher access tracks and boardwalk through the saltmarsh and mangrove ecosystems as well as the installation of in-stream structures for fish habitat; along Scrubby Creek the installation of habitat structures, large woody snags and riparian vegetation; in the Logan River Parklands bank stabilisation including large woody structures and revegetation; and in the lower Albert River, an oyster reef trial using gabion baskets filled with recycled shell installed in approved locations. People who love to fish know very well the importance of providing the right habitat, water quality and environment for our fish. OzFish brings volunteer fishers together to protect and care for our key fishing spots. They will be stepping up to create a new chapter for the Albert and Logan rivers. OzFish will be supported by existing chapters to actively involve our local fishers in the project.

Healthy environments are important not only for our plants and our wildlife but also for the health, wellbeing and happiness of us human beings. It gives us the opportunity to get out and be involved in our communities. I commend this program, and I look forward to seeing its results in the future.