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TSRA to provide $650,000 in funding for Emergency Coastal Erosion Works on Poruma

The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) has approved $650,000 emergency funding for further coastal remediation and prevention works in support of the Poruma Island community.

The emergency funding follows an urgent request from the Poruma Community and the Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC), which has advised that increasing erosion on the Western coastline of Poruma is putting community housing and critical infrastructure at significant risk of becoming uninhabitable or unusable.

This funding support from the TSRA has been made in addition to the $26.2 million previously provided for the Torres Strait Seawalls Project by the TSRA along with the Australian and Queensland Governments.

The TSRA Chairperson, Napau Pedro Stephen AM, said that coastal erosion issues have been impacting Poruma Island for many years now and further action is required.

“The issue of continued coastal erosion on Poruma has become an urgent priority due to the increasing potential risk of harm to the community through damage to the environment, infrastructure and residential housing,” he said.

“The TSRA listened to the Poruma Island community and will continue to work with TSIRC and the Australian and Queensland Governments in order to secure further funding to protect Torres Strait communities.

“A significant amount of scoping work has already been undertaken for Poruma Island as part of the initial seawalls project which commenced in 2014.

“In 2015, some coastal erosion remedial work was undertaken at Poruma Island under the Torres Strait Seawalls Project. Nonetheless, since this time the erosion has worsened.”

The Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC) Mayor, Mr Fred Gela said, “We welcome and thank the TSRA Chairman and Board for the urgent contribution as it couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Using 0.75 cubic metre geo textile sandbagging is certainly a technology that has certainly proven itself at Poruma and not to mention it compliments the environment and its surroundings,” he said.

“I acknowledge that the work at Poruma after this project will remain unfinished business, because we need more than 60 metres of wall.

“We will continue to work collaboratively with TSRA in advocating for additional funds, so we can complete this work and to also focus on other communities that haven’t even been part of this conversation and focus.”

Investigations by TSIRC have determined that a 60-metre-long geotextile sandbagging option is the most viable and cost-effective method to the urgent issue of protection against coastal erosion and tidal inundation.

Works will be completed by TSIRC staff who are predominantly Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal. The work will be undertaken by Council staff that recently undertook accredited civil training under the Major Infrastructure Programme (MIP).

The majority of the original funding and additional funding provided by the TSRA will be spent on Saibai, Boigu and Poruma. Funding will also be spent on obtaining up to date cost estimates and construction requirements for some other Islands in need of coastal erosion protection.

The TSRA in conjunction with TSIRC and the Queensland Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs (DLGRMA) are currently undertaking an evaluation of Seawalls works successfully completed at Saibai, Boigu and Poruma.

Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people are advised this website may contain names, images and recordings of people who have passed.