Apr 17, 2007

Damn the Clarence River says Howard

Damn the Clarence River says Howard

MEDIA RELEASE – ANTHONY ALBANESE MP

17 April 2007

John Howard’s plan to dam the Clarence River and a pipe water from northern NSW into south east Queensland is arrogant and irresponsible.

He has made a decision to move on this without a proper assessment of the cost of building and running the pipeline over the long term.

If John Howard really thinks the proposal to dam the Clarence “passes the pub test”, then perhaps he’s been in the pub too long.

To send out Malcolm Turnbull to sell this proposal before consulting anyone in the local community is beyond belief.

Damming the Clarence River and piping water to Queensland would be very energy intensive and there is growing community concern over the potential economic and environmental harm to northern NSW.

The issue has even split the Coalition. National Party member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker says Clarence Valley residents want the river to stay exactly as it is, but he is being treated with the same contempt the Prime Minister and Malcolm Turnbull have shown for the locals.

Turnbull’s Report is full of holes and concedes the financial analysis was “based on a number of sweeping assumptions” (Report, p.68).

Labor is concerned that damming the Clarence River will have a significant negative affect on local communities in northern NSW, especially on the fishing industry which is vital for Grafton, Yamba, Iluka and Maclean.

The Queensland Government already has a properly costed strategy to provide long term water security for south east Queensland and implementation is well advanced.

Federal Labor supports Queensland’s water grid strategy and has committed $408m to the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme, which is a key component of the grid.

John Howard has chosen to withhold vital Commonwealth support for a well planned water recycling scheme in south east Queensland, and opt for a massive dam and pipe scheme that lacks critical details.