Birdsville Track Update-The Ferry Crossing What a Joke

Hi All,
Well what a day it has been. Speaking with my contact on the Birdsville Track toady for an update on track conditions and was told some news that has me and Station people along the track hopping mad.

Patsy said that things are drying out quite well and the countryside is looking a million dollars. The flood detour road had been fully graded, yet they have had no contact from Transport SA, even though the detour goes through their property.

There is a lot of water making its way down and still has to fill Lake Hope, but at its current flow rate, should cut the Birdsville Track within 2 - 3 weeks.

Patsy then tells me that the Station people along the track may be getting together and having a meeting, as there are rumours that there may not be any money to get the ferry running, right on the peak time of the tourist season and cutting the station people north of the Cooper Creek crossing off from the outside world. If this does happen, then the Birdsville Track could be closed for up to 8 months, with no way of crossing it.

I then have personally made 4 phone calls to Transport SA, from the Ferry Section to the Northern Roads sections. All the people that I spoke to were all very friendly and helpful, but could not give any firm indication, as it is out of there hands and their reports have been sent to Adelaide for approval and they said it will all come down to whether the government will put money towards the operation of the ferry. I was told to ring back next Thursday (Yes on the eve of Easter) and they should have a clearer answer if funding has been approved. I was then told that if it does run, it would not be put into operation until June or July, some 2 months after water may have closed the Birdsville Track.

Prior to our state elections last weekend, the Labour State Government has big promises of millions of dollars to be spent on city based works ($450 Million Dollar up grade of the Festival Complex alone) yet they may not have any money to run a ferry on one of South Australia's most important outback roads.

One thing is for sure, if some Politician had to get access over the flooded Cooper Creek, they would soon find money then to get the ferry running. What we can do from hear I do not know, but we are all at the mercy of the Political Giants in the Big smoke that once again seem to push country affairs under the carpet and in the too hard basket.

I now have to wait for another week to see what the answer could be. Lets hope that the powers of be realise that there is more to South Australia and the lively hood of country and station people that live outside of metropolitan area.


Cheers


Stephen
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Reply By: Member - Duncs - Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 22:54

Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 22:54
Be fair Stephen.

They have an election win to celebrate, there is not another election for 3 or 4 years and how many voters live in that part of the world anyway.

Am I overly cynical?

Duncs
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 23:14

Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 23:14
Hi Duncs
It is not a matter of how many people live along the Birdsville Track or in that part of the world, just a simple answer as to how are they going to get to the outside world. It does not matter what political party it is, this is a very busy outback road that sees thousands of vehicles use it every year, from the smallest of cars, to the giant road trains that bring freight and goods to many outback towns and stations.

I do not know where you live, but I bet if the road in your street was damaged or closed, you would not be cut off from the outside world for up to 8 months.
I will be making more phone calls tomorrow, as to me it is one very big joke.


Cheers


Stephen


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Follow Up By: Member - Duncs - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 10:45

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 10:45
Stephen,

I know the Birdsville Track quite well. The point I was making has little to do with the amount of traffic on the road but lots to do with the attitude of big city bureaucrats and politicians who don't have a clue about the importance of remote area roads. You make the same point in your reply to Greendog.

What I was trying to say can be summed up this way. If the road I lived on was closed by a flood or any other occurrence it would be reopened in less than 24 hours primarily because there are lots of voters and at least 4 politicians living in my part of the world.

In NSW there is an often repeated point made by people living in remote areas that the NSW actually stands for Newcastle Sydney Wollongong. I used to think that those making that statement were just being a bit precious. Then I moved to Broken Hill and it became abundantly clear why they made that statement.

As has been said many times, it is difficult to convey emotion in print, perhaps I failed to adequately demonstrate my position.

I am on your side and wish you well in your efforts to achieve some justice for those in remote SA.

Duncs
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 11:33

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 11:33
Hi Duncs
Sorry for that. I have been speaking with Patsy again just a few hours ago and they are still in the dark. I have been trying to make contact with a couple of Politicians, but am waiting phone calls back.

Like Patsy said this morning, if the ferry is not put into action, what is going to happen to the station people north of the ferry crossing and south of Birdsville.

Once again, Thanks for your support.


Cheers


Stephen
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Follow Up By: Member - George (WA) - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 15:58

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 15:58
How about getting in touch with the local member of parliament for that area. Surely it is his best interest to get an answer for you and represent the locals. Just a thought although I don't have a lot of faith in politicians. Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 18:52

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 18:52
Hi George
I have spoken to the Shadow Minister of Transports Office and they have all the details. The local member for that area is following through so he can update the Shadow Minister as well.


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Stephen
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Reply By: Member - GREENDOG - Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 23:06

Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 23:06
Ring Leon Byner at 5AA 1395 ,he would be very interested in what you have to say and he will put onto the right people to speak to,you will be surprised at the respose you get once you have gone to the media.cheers GREENDOG
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 23:22

Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010 at 23:22
Hi Greendog
The people to I have spoken to today were people in charge. They have been out and inspected the ferry on site and said that it would not cost a lot to get it running again, but it will be the on going cost of running it for many months that needs the approval of some person that probably has never been on the Birdsville Track.

Lets hope that if enough people make enough noise, then the Government Official may take notice of the voice of people that need it in place.



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Stephen









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Follow Up By: Dean - Friday, Mar 26, 2010 at 17:00

Friday, Mar 26, 2010 at 17:00
Ring Leon Byrner, youv'e got to be kidding. Why not give the story even less credibility and ring today tonight or similar.

Maybe try stateline?

Dean
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Reply By: DIO - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 08:16

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 08:16
The North and North East of the State are very poular with travellers especially during the Easter period. Given the condition of many roads in the areas I am not surprised that the authorities are perhaps apprehensive about grading roads, operating ferries etc. They probably see the major issue as being tourists who drive on wet roads and chew them up, tourists that get into trouble and want the authorities to help them, toursists who make the trip then complain about bad road conditions, roads closed, bridges down etc, etc. The locals will always fiind a way to 'get through'. They know how to survive in such conditions. Yes business might be a little quiet during Easter but once everything has dried out, stand back for the rush of tourists with pockets full of money. Yippee !!
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 09:02

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 09:02
Hi DIO
This is not about keeping people out of the area, the roads are open. It is about allowing people access to the Northern Parts of the state and to travel the main road to Birdsville. Have a think about it, how many thousands of people each year travel the Simpson Desert? They all have to start/end in Birdsville. From there, a very large number of people then head south to travel this icon of Australian Tracks. As tax payers, we should not be made to travel many hundreds of kilometres extra to get to Birdsville.

As for the locals will always find a way through, have you seen the film, or read the book, Back of beyond, as not even Tom Kruse could find a way over the flooded Cooper, he had to resort to ferry.

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Reply By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 08:37

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 08:37
Hi Stephen, it's ironic isn't it - biggest flood in 20 years, thousands wanting to go and see the desert greenery, ride the ferry, take a flight over Lake Eyre, see the sights etc. If the ferry doesn't run how will the Mungeranie pub survive the lack of customers? My map shows Mulka,Mungeranie, Kalamurina, Cowarie and Clifton Hills as the only civilisation north of the ferry. Surely it's cheaper to run the ferry so they can get supplies than flying in, plus all the tourists who will buy fuel and supplies in Maree. Nearby towns like Lyndhurst and William Creek will also be affected.
If there's a Maree Chamber of Commerce or its equivalent they need to start lobbying now as school hols start at Easter. Will there be a charge to ride the ferry, what are the insurance issues etc?
Who is the local member up there - make him earn his salary!!!
Anyway I have sent an email to ABC Stateline SA referring to this post. Let's hope we can get our 8 cents a days worth and they could do a report. Cheers for now.... W
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 09:12

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 09:12
Hi Glenn
I will be making more phone calls today and try to find out why it is not just a simple question of putting it into operation. Like I was told yesterday, the old ferry is still in good condition, has an 8 tonne capacity and will be able to take vehicles up to 7 metres in length.

I think it is about time for the people that make the final decisions, get out of their fancy offices in Adelaide, take a trip up to Marree, and tell the locals face to face what their reasons are. It is all very easy to get field officers to break to news and bear the brunt of angry locals.

Lets all hope that there is going to be a good outcome.


Cheers


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Reply By: Alloy c/t - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 09:14

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 09:14
Last time I looked at a map you dont "need" to drive the SA Birdsville track to get to Birdsville which is in QLD.
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Follow Up By: Member - Duncs - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 10:56

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 10:56
Maybe Alloy c/t it depends where you are coming from.

Try getting from Adelaide to Birdsville, try getting from Perth to Birdsville or try doing a loop trip from Sydney to Bridsville and back without retracing your steps.

I would guess more visitors to Birdsville come or go via the Birdsville Track than any other road. The vast majority of freight to Birdsville would also come via the track.

Maybe you don't 'need' to use the track just like thousands of people don't 'need' to take King Geroges Rd to get to work but the alternatives are often not realistic.

Duncs
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 11:39

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 11:39
Alloy c/t
If the ferry is not put into action, there are going to be a lot of station people that will be stranded, with no way of running there stations. Once their fuel supplies have been used, out go the generators, vehicles stop running.

This tread is not for the arm chair traveller, but for people that work, live and travel the Birdsville Track

Stephen
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 14:02

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 14:02
The point I was trying to make is / was that if people want to go to Birdsville it is still accessible , ferry or not , stations and the people on them can still get their supplies , just not as easily as if the ferry was up and running ,
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Reply By: Fab72 - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 12:45

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 12:45
Stephen...." If this does happen, then the Birdsville Track could be closed for up to 8 months, with no way of crossing it. "

How accurate is that guesstimate? We are planning a trip which involves going up the track in early Oct. of this year. Should I be making alternate arrangements?
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 14:00

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 14:00
Hi Fab 72
It is going to come down to the amount of water and if the ferry does run.
I have now contacted the Shadow Minister of Transport Office and given them all the details for when the Shadow Minister has a meeting the Transport Minister early next week. They have even requested the Local Member of Parliament of that area to find out as much information. I have given them Patsy's phone number so they can speak to people that are right on the scene.

Lets hope that all this fuss gets the ferry the money that it need to operate.


Cheers


Stephen
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Follow Up By: Fab72 - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 22:00

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 22:00
Cheers Stephen.

BTW...good on you for pushing the barrow for the peeps on the Birdsville Track. They are a proud bunch of people who are often too modest to ask for something. It's people like you who stir up the pollies and get action.

Hats off to ya. When I'm sitting down enjoying my nice steak over the next few months, there's a good chance it came down the track.
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Follow Up By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 22:08

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 22:08
Hi Fab 72. You could be having a ferry ride in October. The floods at Birdsville which are currently closing the Track south of town will be gone and the whole track should be dry barring winter rains. Dry except for the Cooper Xing which should go under in April and based on hydrologists no.'s the flood will last 5- 6 months, about a month or so less than the 7 months the ferry operated for in 1990. There's plenty of time for you to plan and keep an eye on This forum and the Transport SA website.... W
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Reply By: just - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 14:43

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 14:43
Stephen,
While I understand your concerns, I wouldn't call the Birdsville track "one of South Australia's most important outback roads". Yes, a few stations will suffer and tourists will need to reconsider their planned itineraries, but the region certainly isn't the bread basket of the state! And as for Birdsville, that's in QLD, so it's virtually a road to nowhere anyway! Those living on the stations must surely be aware of the risks associated with living where they do, and after the floods I'm sure they'll be reaping the benefits, with all the available cattle food. Most certainly it would be great to have govt throw money at everything, but everyone's complaining about taxes & govt charges etc, so there has to be some rationalisation of govt. expenditure. cheers
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Follow Up By: Fred G NSW - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 18:31

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 18:31
Just,........from that load of horse manure, we can only assume your a politician, and if your not, you oughta be.
The real issue here to you it would appear, is like a well bowled Glen McGrath bouncer....way over your head and straight through to the keeper :-)

BTW the easter bunny is for real, aye ;-)
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 19:13

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 19:13
Just
With comments like that, it sounds like you do not even know where the Birdsville Track is or its importance. As to your comments "so it's virtually a road to nowhere anyway!" well what can I say, you are provoking further replies that will tell you you should not comment on something that you have no idea about.

If you are so sure of what you have stated, would be be prepared to repeat thoses same worlds to an open audiance at say...Marree.

You name the date and I could organise the station people to come and hear your speech.


Stephen
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Follow Up By: Member - GREENDOG - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 22:15

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 22:15
Stephen this was the the point i was making (eg the replys ) lets get the media involved in this,its a polictical thing we know,i love the outback and the people in it lets stand up for them and us as well,i feel like ringin Leon tomorrow hay,lets make same noise,cause as the replys have said the city people would'nt have a clue.cheers GREENDOG.

P.S Dont be surprised to hear me on air
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Follow Up By: Dasher Des - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 23:41

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 23:41
Just.... can I give you a little piece of advice from one of our ancient and learned scholars.
"It is better to say nothing and have people think your a fool than open your mouth and prove it" Socraties 1976
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Reply By: Shaker - Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 22:45

Thursday, Mar 25, 2010 at 22:45
As long as the people getting excited about a ferry ride understand, that they don't allow camper trailers or caravans.

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Follow Up By: Tonyfish#58 - Friday, Mar 26, 2010 at 19:29

Friday, Mar 26, 2010 at 19:29
Shaker - Im excited - I hope she runs - This years itinerary sees us going from Poeppel Corner down the K1 Line to the Birdsville Track and on to Maree - Leigh Creek - Balcanoona - Merty Merty - Cameron Corner.

I have not checked yet if the Floods will stop us going that way - or if we can actually get over the Simpson :-)
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Reply By: Member - Leon A (SA) - Friday, Mar 26, 2010 at 22:02

Friday, Mar 26, 2010 at 22:02
In the road condition reports it is stated that it will be closed to mid May so by the time they get the ferry fixed there won't be any need for it.
Cheers,


Leon

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Follow Up By: Member - Leon A (SA) - Friday, Mar 26, 2010 at 22:11

Friday, Mar 26, 2010 at 22:11
Sorry just read Warrie's post and the track is currently closed for a different flood.
Cheers,


Leon

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