Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Hawkesbury City Council votes down motion to support raising Warragamba Dam wall

Hawkesbury City Council last night voted down a motion to support the raising of the Warragamba Dam wall. Councilors voted 5-7 to reject a Liberal motion to support the dam wall raising, with numerous Councillors voicing concern that they were being asked to vote on a proposal they knew very little about.

Colong Foundation spokesperson, Harry Burkitt, said that no one would expect Hawkesbury City Council to support a Government dam building idea when the community knows very little about it.

“The Hawkesbury City Council is being asked to support a near billion-dollar dam idea that has had no thorough business case, EIS or feasibility study presented on its viability.”

“Of course the council should support better flood management, but they should not be frog-marched into a corner by dangerous developer interests set on covering the floodplain with housing.”

“Rigorous consultation is needed where the interests of community members can be heard over Government backed developer interests on the floodplain.”

Councilor Wheeler referred to fundamental contradictions in Infrastructure NSW documentation, highlighting that while Infrastructure NSW says they want to reduce impacts of floods in the valley, their reports also condones new urban development on the floodplain.

“Either the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, or we are getting sold porkies.”

Councillor Reynolds said that while the NSW Government was touting a near-billion-dollar dam idea, it was not funding important flood evacuation infrastructure for existing communities.

“If the State Government were not spending their time grandstanding on this project and funded evacuation routes in the valley now, the community would be a lot safer.”

Gundungurra traditional owner, Taylor Clarke, said she was pleased to see the Hawkesbury City Council reject the dam wall raising, but was still waiting for a commitment by the NSW Government to not flood her people’s last remaining cultural sites in the Burragorang Valley.

“Despite the fact no thorough feasibility study has been undertaken by Government, Infrastructure NSW keep saying to traditional owners that raising the dam wall is a foregone conclusion, and that fighting it is pointless.”

Colong Foundation spokesperson, Harry Burkitt, also outlined the contradictory arguments being put by Infrastructure NSW regarding the welfare of downstream communities.

“We have a NSW Government hell bent on using the dam wall raising to justify new urban-sprawl across western Sydney floodplains. All the while downstream communities who are said to benefit from the dam wall raising are expressing serious doubt over the validity of the idea. They don’t want to see thousands more residents in their community exposed to an unacceptable flood risk.”

“The prospectus released by Infrastructure NSW on the dam wall raising states that another 130,000 people will be housed on the floodplain by 2047 - it’s just ludicrous.”

Media contact: 
Harry Burkitt
0490 010 909