Last dry season in response to reports of damage to the Corroboree Billabong boat ramp (which was in turn resulting in damage to boats, motors and trailers), AFANT engaged with the Department of Infrastructure Planning and Logistics (DIPL) to seek a remedy to the situation. At the time, minor works were carried out and signage was put in place. We highlighted the need for longer term repairs or a full ramp replacement and conveyed this to DIPL.
AFANT understands that significant repairs to the ramp not were able to be arranged before the beginning of the wet season last year, and once the waters in the billabong began to rise the window to carry out the works had closed.
This year, DIPL has scheduled repairs to the ramp and is in the process of investigating a longer-term solution. AFANT urges that this should ultimately result in a full replacement of the ramp in the next year or so. Our vision is that a future upgrade should include a ramp that is genuinely two lanes wide, is long enough to accommodate the launching of larger boats at the end of the dry season, has a pontoon for safe passenger loading/unloading and includes earthworks to reduce the risk of crocodile attack from the sides of the ramp.
Last week, we learned that maintenance works aimed at making the ramp safe and usable for the next 12 months are due to begin this Dry season. Engaging with DIPL staff this week, we have conveyed the need to act quickly to prevent further damage to boats and trailers, especially as water levels in the billabong drop and with two major fishing competitions taking place over the next few months.
We have been informed that today (Friday August 6), DIPL staff will be onsite to inspect the current condition of the ramp and to install hazard warnings on the most damaged section(s).
It is our understanding that a full assessment will be carried out early next week, and that works will be scheduled as soon as possible. The targeted completion for works is before the first weekend of September, when the Secret Women’s Business competition will be held.
Until then, be cautious when using the ramp. We will keep you posted as information comes to hand, including any potential closures.
DIPL is engaging with us to seek to ensure minimal disruption, however given the repairs are likely to be significant, AFANT expects a mid-week closure lasting a few days will be likely later this month.
Finally, thanks to all of the fishers (as well as our members and staff) who have reported issues with the ramp to us, and to DIPL staff for engaging with us and working to implement a remedy as soon as possible.