Council’s marine infrastructure is aged and requires significant repairs and maintenance. Age and wear and tear have rendered the majority of marine infrastructure facilities no longer suitable for most communities, and especially for people with a disability or those on certain island communities. Without reliable marine infrastructure, travel and access is compromised between the 15 Divisions that comprise Torres Strait Island Regional Council. This is having a negative impact to health, education, traditional hunting, basic groceries and services and can present discrimination liabilities. The condition of the critical marine infrastructure varies from being in ‘fair’ condition to ‘extremely deteriorated’.
Additional investment of $128m to complete Council’s marine infrastructure and equitable access program of works, including the replacement of existing finger jetties with DDA compliant structures.
Works include upgrades or replacement of existing wharves. This funding request is scheduled to coincide with a considered roll-out of projects:
Estimated replacement costs for a basic wharf in the Torres Strait is approximately $11.6m (DDA compliant gangway and pontoon). The $128m estimate quoted above is for wharf works only.
Poruma, Saibai, Masig, Boigu and Erub each require dredging on the marine access channel for barges and pocket dredging to facilitate barge and essential freight provision at approximately $26m for all five communities.
Barge ramps at Arkai, St Pauls, Badu, Dauan and Boigu require urgent attention at approximately $2m per community.
Mabuiag and Mer communities have no jetty structures at all. Marine infrastructure underpins the movement of people and freight between communities and enables access to essential supplies (food, water, medical) and services (emergency services, medical & construction) and basic services such as health, education and shopping.
Subject to available funding, a new project in this suite can be ready for commencement at the beginning of each financial year.
Aside from the provision of materials needed for upgrading core on-ground facilities, such as community halls, Council offices and recreational/ sporting facilities, the majority of Council’s most fundamental services have a reliance on marine infrastructure, for example the regional electricity generation and drinking water desalinisation equipment is currently operated using diesel fuel. This is a critical item that is restricted to sea freight provision only. Council also provides and operationally manages airport infrastructure within each community for delivery of certain goods and passenger movement. The cost for air travel, within and out of the region, even with low fare schemes, can be largely unaffordable for lower socioeconomic communities.
Critical - Jetty structures are currently barricaded-off from use due to structural wear and immediate public safety concerns. All have less than 3 years useful life left if the structural wear issues can be immediately addressed.
Severe - Less than 3 years useful life left, however are only kept open due to unsustainable maintenance works which do not address the primary structural elements (piles, bearers, etc).
Moderate - Less than 5 years life remaining. Primary structure members (piles, bearers) showing signs of severe deterioration.