Hidden agendas now characterise the Infrastructure NSW project to raise Warragamba Dam wall, after an extensive report by National Parks was leaked by the Sydney Morning Herald in today's paper. The leaked document is available on the Herald website.
The scathing National Parks & Wildlife Service review of WaterNSW's draft impact statement, obtained by the Herald, blasted as inadequate the environmental assessment of the plan to raise Warragamba Dam's height, including for the failure to consider impacts from last season's bushfires.
"NPWS has identified critical areas that are not adequately addressed in the EIS..." the NPWS review begins.
It goes on to say, "That is not a valid description [of how the offsets should be calculated]," adding "the EIS does not consider the impacts of the project on all elements of Outstanding Universal value".
"The community needs to have a clear understanding of the direct impacts of the proposal on the full range of significant environmental values," it said, adding that to treat the inundation as an "indirect" risk downplayed both the significance and the need to make avoiding those effects a priority.
Campaign Manager at the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, Harry Burkitt, said:
"There are so many hidden agendas going on behind the scenes that need to be examined. From leaked charts showing just how ineffective the dam will be at mitigating floods, a woefully inadequate Aboriginal cultural assessment, just 3 hours being spent looking for Koalas over many thousand hectares of impacted National Park, a midnight announcement to increase the height of the proposed dam wall to 17 metres last week, and now this.
"The NSW Parliament's Upper House Select Committee of Inquiry into the project now has the opportunity to find out what is causing such persistent distortions in the planning assessment process for the dam wall raising.
"This Warragamba project is pushed by property developers and the insurance industry who want to build more houses on the floodplain, but it's taxpayers who will pay for a plan that won't actually work to mitigate large floods.
"It's exactly like the debacle with the stadiums or the Powerhouse Museum. A badly thought out proposal made at massive taxpayer cost, the rules for project evaluation and assessment deceptively twisted."