Apr 12, 2007

Turnbull’s proposal to dam the Clarence River

Turnbull’s proposal to dam the Clarence River


12 April 2007

Malcolm Turnbull’s proposal for a dam on the Clarence River and a pipeline from northern NSW into south east Queensland lacks detail and smells of politics.

With one hand, Malcolm Turnbull is withholding vital Commonwealth support for a well planned water recycling scheme in south east Queensland, and with the other hand he is pushing a massive dam and pipe scheme that lacks critical details.

It is extraordinary that Malcolm Turnbull’s own Report concedes there were “no detailed site investigations” (p.6) and that the financial analysis in the Report was “based on a number of sweeping assumptions due to the restricted time frame, the nature of the study and the lack of access to recent financial data” (p.68).

Federal Labor is always open to ideas about how we best manage water, but the Queensland Government already has a properly costed strategy to provide long term water security for south east Queensland and implementation is well advanced.

Damming the Clarence River and piping water to Queensland would probably be very energy intensive and may cause significant economic and environmental harm to northern NSW.

Labor is concerned that damming the Clarence River may 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.

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.

The Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme is an important part of providing water security for the 2.7 million residents in south east Queensland, which will grow to 4 million residents by 2027. Completion of the Scheme by December 2008 will deliver up to 210 mega-litres per day of recycled water.

The best thing Mr Turnbull can do for the people of south east Queensland would be to match Labor’s funding commitment to the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme.