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Drowning in Neglect

Apr 13, 2024

From the Editor

Here we are again, grappling with the aftermath of yet another flood. Despite enduring seven floods in the past three and a half years, we find ourselves trapped in a frustrating cycle of inaction. Frankly, it’s exhausting having to revisit this conversation time and time again.

The script remains unchanged: politicians trot out the same tired promises, or depending which side they are on, blame the others for inaction. But let’s be real – it’s all become a nauseating blur of empty words. Gone is the catchy slogan “building back better” – apparently even political spin doctors have grown tired of recycling it.

The sad truth is that nothing substantial has changed since the first flood hit nearly four years ago. Despite repeated calls for action, our dams still lack adequate water level management. Critical infrastructure like levee banks and evacuation routes continue to languish in neglect. Take Triangle Lane in Richmond Lowlands, for instance – a vital evacuation route for livestock and heavy machinery. It remains nothing more than a dirt track, despite years of pleading for upgrades. And today, if there was ever a shining example of the community’s concerns being ignored, look no further than Richmond Bridge. Once again the guard rails were not lowered and the bridge was covered in heavy debris, causing long delays and traffic chaos for commuters reliant on just the Windsor bridge to cross the river.

And then there is the state of the roads. They’ve been discussed ad nauseam, yet here we are, still dodging potholes, navigating collapsed edges, and bracing for further deterioration with each flood. In a semi-rural area like ours where many roads are unmarked, unsealed, and unlit, the sorry state of our infrastructure poses a greater risk to lives than the floods themselves. With road repairs still underway from the last flood as council drags its feet, a fresh round of damage has now been inflicted and must now be funded.

Then there’s Cornwallis – a prime example of government negligence at its most damaging. The collapse of the river bank, caused by the failure to maintain the drainage system by the Hawkesbury City Council, has resulted in untold losses for local businesses and farmers. There has been absolutely no accountability for a disaster that has cost local farmers millions.

The community’s patience has worn thin, and rightly so. People are tired of the politics, the empty promises, and the finger-pointing. What they want – what they need – is action. The latest comments from the Minns government, that they are considering lowering the full capacity level of the dam is welcome news. But until we see the project scoped and funded, it remains just that.

Hawkesbury residents want damaged infrastructure repaired, not money spent on shiny street signs. They want accurate, timely and detailed modeling during the emergency event. This time around it simply was not good enough: some was over the top and some was non-existent, and some was dangerously confusing and out of date. 

The frustration is palpable. While this flood was far from the worst, it is clear from the emails and letters we have received the community is angry. 

More than 826,000 people have engaged with the Hawkesbury Post’s articles and critical information over the flood emergency. That is an extraordinary affirmation of our very small team and the volunteers working from their home offices through the night.Thank you to everyone who stepped in through the emergency, while many of us were dealing with our own evacuations. It has shown the value of a community owned, run and focused local newspaper.

We thank you for trusting us and our flood coverage but again, we can’t continue to do so without your support. 

If you can, please donate. Every dollar helps us to inform you.

Thank you

Samantha Magnusson

 



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