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SA jetties need support to keep standing


South Australians are being asked for feedback on the importance of jetties so councils can lobby the the state government for their upkeep.

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As part of its Value of Jetties program, the Local Government Association has launched an SA Jetties Community Survey to demonstrate that jetties in regional and metropolitan areas hold a deeper value than simple economic trade.

LGA SA president and Kimba District Council Mayor Dean Johnson said the survey was important as many of South Australia’s jetties were falling into disrepair.

“There are 75 jetties across the state that are owned by the government and 36 of those are leased to councils for their management,” Johnson said, with the cost of structural repairs over a jetty’s lifetime often unfeasible for councils.

“If you lease a house you might change the light bulbs and fix some maintenance issues, but the actual structural integrity is the responsibility of the owner,” he said.

“Local councils are doing the best they can with the funding they have to maintain jetties in their regions, however, larger works require external financial support.

“We really need a universal collaboration between the state, federal, and local governments to address this issue.”

Some councils have leases on multiple jetties, with Yorke Peninsula Council having 12 in its area.

“You can see that the ask for a council like that is really extensive and quite prohibitive for other works if they have to contribute to 12 jetties and keep those open,” Johnson said.

“We recognise that the state government has put an extra $20 million toward the state’s jetties and we are really thankful for that. It is a step in the right direction.

“We would love to see some long-term financing approved to firm the conditions of our jetties in the coming years.”

Johnson said that jetties have a range of social benefits and are integral to the identities of the coastal towns.

The Tumby Bay jetty has been a fixture of its community since 1874 when it replaced small dingies as the primary method of moving mined ore onto ships.

In October 2022, the jetty was damaged during rough weather and a supportive pylon was destroyed, causing the jetty’s closure.

The District Council of Tumby Bay website says talks have been ongoing with the Department of Infrastructure and Transport about how to move forward with the jetty’s repairs.

While it was one of five jetties selected for a pilot business case by the department, the $20 million in state budget funding has not been specifically allocated.

“Whilst awaiting the outcome of the government’s pilot program, the Tumby Bay jetty has continued to deteriorate and remain closed,” the council said in June.

“At the same time, the cost of undertaking works in a marine environment has increased significantly.”

The council said last week that it had considered a draft Tumby Bay jetty business plan, presented by the department on a confidential basis.

“Details of the plan cannot be shared, suffice to say that the cost of refurbishing or replacing the jetty is significant and Councillors will be working, with staff, on identifying options,” the statement said.

Tumby Bay Council also has the lease for the jetty in Port Neill, with Johnson saying the council had paid around three-quarters of a million dollars on its upkeep.

“While they are perfectly happy to contribute to a solution, they really would like to develop that with the state government and see what that looks like,” he said.

“We do recognise that local governments have to have an input into maintenance and upkeep on jetties.

“To expect them to do significant repairs on structural integrity is a bit too much to ask of small rural councils in particular, but even metropolitan councils really struggle with that cost.

“We would like to see a collaborative approach, and we would love to develop a long-term plan to make sure that we can get all jetties up and open once again.”

The SA Jetties Community Survey is open until 5pm Friday September 15.

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story. Copied to Clipboard

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