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April 11, 2018

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.

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Australian Foundation for Wilderness Limited
ACN 001 112 143
ABN 84 001 112 143
Advocating as 'Wilderness Australia'
Formerly The Colong Foundation for Wilderness Ltd
Registered Office 10/154 Elizabeth Street Sydney NSW 2000
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