Carpenter won’t tyre of annual clean-up
seawalls on six islands was swallowed up by the Saibai project.
Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said he was dumbfounded when he heard the dispute between the contractor and the Badu Island Foundation, which operates the quarry, meant rocks had been imported from Cairns.
“I’ve known about it for quite a long time,” he said. “I just shook my head in disbelief.
“I don’t think taxpayers will be happy to have to pay that massive extra price.”
With legal talks ongoing, Mr Entsch said a quick, cheap and effective solution was needed to safeguard remaining islands from rising sea levels.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has given the all-clear for a group including a TSIRC engineer to visit the Cocos Islands, where Mr Entsch had witnessed the success of sandbagging to create working seawalls.
“All they need are empty sandbags and geofabric, a sand pump and an excavator or backhoe to scratch down to the surface,” he said.
“Once that’s in place, they can train someone up there to operate every thing — there’s an opportunity for someone to run a microbusiness.
“Once they buy that sand pump, it’s very easy to move from island to island and there is always going to be ongoing maintenance.”
Mr Entsch said he believed the sandbag system would work on any of the central Torres Strait Islands except Saibai and Boigu, due to their mud foundations.
TSIRC has already started work on the Boigu wall with the $1.1 million leftover after the Saibai price blowout.
UPBEAT: William Mareko makes colourful garden ornaments out of used car tyres. Picture: CHRIS CALCINO