Monday 16 November 2009
Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission welcomed the decision by Federal Environment Minister,Peter Garret, to reject the Queensland Government’s plans to build a dam at Traveston Crossing on the Mary River.
In the wake of the decision, the Commission urged the Queensland Government to review its water security plans for South-East Queensland with a view to developing a genuinely sustainable plan.
The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the proposed dam was not environmentally viable.
“The large number of conditions which Queensland’s Coordinator-General imposed on the proposal gave a clear indication of how many problems there were with the dam plan,” Mr Arndt said.
“Apart from the environmental cost, there has been a significant human cost for those many people whose lives were turned upside down by Government preparations for the dam,” he said.
Mr Arndt said that the Federal decision provides the State Government with an excellent opportunity to review its water security plan.
“We are very concerned that Premier Anna Bligh has already announced that her Government will build more desalination plants to replace the water which was to be supplied by the Traveston Crossing Dam,” he said.
“Desalination plants seem to be unsustainable as they use so much energy and create other problems in the environments used to source the water to be desalinated,” he said.
“It is worth pointing out that the original water security plan assumes a much higher per capita water consumption rate than now applies in South-East Queensland,” he said.
“Despite our water supplies improving markedly in the last year or so and the easing of restrictions, people in the South East are now using much less water than before and this should be taken into account in future plans,” he said.
“Water recycling needs to be a much bigger contributor to our water supply,” he said.
“We also do not know why our Government is not prepared to invest more money into stormwater recycling and re-use,” he said.
“The Federal Government has just provided grants to thirteen stormwater projects, mostly in Victoria and South Australia,” he said.
“Only one Queensland project proposed by the Southbank Corporation has been given grants by the Federal Government,” he said.
“We would be interested to know if the State Government has done much work on stormwater harvesting as an option,” he said.
“The rejection of the dam should give Premier Bligh a great opportunity to explore smaller and much less damaging innovations such as stormwater harvesting to secure our water supply into the future,” he said.
For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.
NB This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right. The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.
Thank you for an accurate and well presented argument for sustainable water options for the Queensland government to pursue. As a pastor in the Mary Valley, where Traveston was planned, I can assure the research for better options was thoroughly investigated and your suggestions are in accord with the best advice we have received. The time for big dams displacing people and ruining premium farmland, not to mention the environment, should definitely be over. Desalination is reliable but not the most cost effective solution. Thanks again for your supportive contribution to justice.