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October 26, 2020

MEDIA RELEASE: Experts label Minister Ayres 'misleading and irresponsible' over flood claims

A former SES Deputy Director-General and Australian National University Professor have slammed comments from the Minister for Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, on Seven News tonight about flooding in western Sydney, labelling him 'misleading and irresponsible'.

Former SES Deputy Director-General, Dr Chas Keys, said Minister Ayres should "listen to experts" instead of whipping up fear in the community about floods.

"Stuart Ayres needs to check the Bureau of Meteorology website before he implies that western Sydney is facing imminent flood danger. He is not educating people; he is spinning a preferred project.

"It is misleading and irresponsible for him to imply recent rain might lead to significant flooding on any of our major rivers, including the Hawkesbury-Nepean. People need to monitor the Bureau of Meteorology for warnings of developing floods, not listen to Stuart Ayres, who appears to be whipping up support for his flawed plan to raise the Warragamba Dam wall.

"The fact that a La Nina period has begun should not be taken as evidence of certain impending flooding. What it means is a likely wetter-than-usual summer which will probably see flooding in some parts of the state. It does not mean that flooding on the Hawkesbury-Nepean river system is guaranteed to happen.

"Raising Warragamba Dam is not the panacea for flooding that Stuart Ayres likes to imply. Warragamba Dam is not on the Nepean or the Grose Rivers, both of which can produce large floods without a drop of water flowing over Warragamba Dam wall. Therefore raising the dam wall cannot control flooding on these major tributaries of the Hawkesbury River."

Professor Jamie Pittock of the Australian National University, said "if the NSW Government is really concerned about flood risk it should limit further development in harm’s way on the floodplain."

“Raising Warragamba Dam won’t reduce the flood risk from the tributary rivers downstream. It won’t stop more houses being built in harm’s way on the floodplain. It won’t raise low lying roads to enable residents to get to safety.”

Media contacts:

Dr Chas Keys

0427 940 000

Professor Jamie Pittock

0407 265 131

Harry Burkitt

0490 010 909


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