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    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    State grants green light to Traveston

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Sunday, September 13, 2009

    State grants green light to Traveston

     

    The State Government has given the green light to Traveston Dam and the final decision now rests with the Federal Environment Minister.

    On her second anniversary as leader of the State Premier Anna Bligh said the Coordinator-General has provided to the Federal Government a draft set of the extensive conditions under which he believes the dam can proceed.

    “This decision comes after the most extensive environmental work on probably any project in our history. It has taken two years to get to this point,” said the Premier.

    “We can’t afford to be complacent because it has rained. I am not going to take my eye off the ball on water.”

    The conditions, which would make the $1.5 billion project the greenest dam in Australian history, include a massive increase in suitable habitat for endangered species such as the Lungfish and Mary River cod and turtle.

    Work to expand and improve the habitat would begin in the New year, followed by a ramp up of the necessary road works on the Bruce Highway before construction on the Dam wall proceeds.

    “The Coordinator General has advised the Federal Government that he believes the Dam can proceed with conditions,” she said.

    “The Federal Minister should make a decision on the Environmental issues surrounding the dam by November.”

    The proposed environmental conditions include measures such as

    • Increasing vegetated areas around the river and its tributaries from 260 ha to more than 2000 ha over a 20 year period
    • Rehabilitation work for one kilometre downstream from the dam wall to encourage movement of species through the dam system
    • Establishing islands and sand refugees for Mary River turtles in the main water storage area
    • Secure fencing in habitat areas to restrict the current destructive grazing practices

    “If the Federal Minister gives approval work on Traveston Dam will start in the New Year supporting thousands of jobs in Queensland and providing water security for the region,” said the Premier.

    “There would be an immediate improvement in environmental conditions with hundreds of workers on site to complete fencing and other early works.

    “I have always said that South East Queensland needs this project. I haven’t changed my mind. I back it and I want to see it built.

    “The alternative to this dam is two more desalination plants the size of the $1.2 billion Tugun plant and that would mean a significantly higher economic and environmental cost.

    “This is not an easy issue but these are the sorts of decisions that leaders need to make.

    “This Dam is the foundation stone on which we will build our region’s future.

    “South East Queensland is the fastest growing region in Australia and as Premier I need to look over the horizon to the fact that the people moving here need water to drink.

    “The new environmental conditions that the Coordinator General is proposing mean that this is the greenest dam building proposal in Australian history.

    “Without this project proceeding the sad fact is that these species could become extinct.

    “Farming practices in the region over the last 150 years have degraded their habitat and have resulted in their endangered status.

    “The environmental research conducted as part of the project has confirmed the true status of these species and has presented us with a stark reality.

    “If the current land use practices are allowed to continue they will probably die out.”

    The Traveston Dam would deliver approximately 70,000 mega litres per year – enough water for around 800,000 people per day.

    Since the project was announced in 2006 rain events in the catchment area mean it would have filled 10 times if it had already been built.

    Contact 07 32244500