THE State Government has contributed $1.15 million to help solve Inverloch’s erosion problems, $700,000 of which will be going towards a pilot development of a Regional and Strategic Partnership (RaSP).

The remaining $450,000 will be spent on short-term emergency works, with a geotextile sandbag wall to be installed to assist the wet sand fencing and sacrificial sand in protecting the Inverloch Surf Life Saving Club.

The funding was announced by Bass MP Jordan Crugnale on Friday, October 18.

“The works that have been going on are just to get us to this point we’re at today, the wet sand fencing is something that I have a lot of confidence in to work down the track, and these geotextile bags are just going to help secure the asset while the working group, RaSP, continue to come up with long-term solutions,” said Bass Coast Mayor Cr Brett Tessari.

Ms Crugnale said the investment is just a start on the work that needs to be done to save coastal beaches and other assets from erosion.

“We can really look at stabilising the area as we look towards long-term planning… there’s the geotextile bags going in, and then there’s the $700,000 that gets allocated, and how we get other funding from other tiers of government for the long-term.”

Ms Crugnale said the State Government has been keeping a close eye on the situation, as Inverloch has some of the most aggressive coastal erosion in the state.

“It’s not just a local issue, it’s a state issue, it’s an Australia-wide concern.

“It’s important to look at the environmental aspect, but also the social and financial impacts. If we don’t have beaches or an area there, that has huge repercussions for our local area.”

The RaSP pilot program, under the new Marine and Coastal Act 2018, will have a working group consisting of representatives from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Bass Coast Shire Council, Parks Victoria, Regional Roads Victoria, Gippsland Ports, and the Bunurong Land Council.

“These agencies have been working on this for a number of years now, what we’re doing is formalising that partnership,” Ms Crugnale said.

The group will be developing a Local Coastal Hazard Assessment and Community Resilience Plan as the first part of their work, before looking to implement their findings and combat the erosion problems.

DELWP Gippsland Regional Manager Land and Built Environment Carole Macmillan says this type of plan usually takes six to twelve months to develop.

“A lot of monitoring is done and a lot of data is collected, the works will get underway straight away, and we’ll also get the Coastal Hazard Assessment up and going as quickly as we can, and then the experts will start monitoring the area and look into what’s happening and why.”

Cr Tessari felt relieved to be able to show what Bass Coast Shire Council has been doing in response to the issue.

“The Inverloch community have been loud, and they have had every right to be, so it’s really nice to be able to say that we have been listening.”

Ms Macmillan said the Inverloch community will be regularly updated and consulted about the findings made by the RaSP group.

“Once we get that information, we’ll put it to the community, and then find ideas about how we respond and what we do as a community, there’ll be a lot of engagement during that process.

“Once that information becomes available, it’s very much intended to be shared with the community so that then we can inform any decisions.”

Ms Crugnale said it was fantastic news for the Inverloch community and visitors to the region.

“It means that the current erosion controls being installed and the pilot RaSP will ensure the Inverloch Surf Beach continues to be a resilient, connected and safe space for the community to come together now and into the future.

“A long-term strategic approach must be taken to protect the social, environmental and economic values of our coastline and foreshores.”