We have a new Government in NSW. It gives us some welcome clarity about the future of the Blue Mountains. It is with a sense of cautious excitement that we are now entering what may be the final stretch of the Warragamba Dam campaign.
The big news is that there is now little doubt: the dam raising will not go ahead in this term of government.
What should we expect from the new NSW Government?
Penny Sharpe, the new Minister for the Environment, has over many years consistently spoken against the raising of the Dam. The incoming Premier, Chris Minns, has recently stated that the Labor Party is against the Dam raising. The unremitting pressure to raise the dam, which has been a dark cloud hovering over the Blue Mountains for the past seven years, is lifting.
Where to from here?
There is much work still to be done to close off the dam proposal for good. If we fail to do this work, the project could be resurrected as soon as there is a change of Government. So in the coming year, we plan to systematically work our way through every step that is required to ensure the project is dead and will never be revived.
- Legislation that prevents national parks from being flooded was repealed in order to enable the dam raising to go ahead. This legislation could now be reinstated as a matter of urgency.
- The NSW Government can deliver its promise to put in place environmentally sustainable alternatives for managing flooding and flood plain development in Western Sydney.
- The NSW Government should seek to reform Water NSW, the main driver of the widely condemned dam raising efforts and the bungled EIS process.
- Both the NSW and Federal Governments must quickly enact a comprehensive recovery plan for the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area following the 2019-20 bushfires, which burnt almost the entirety of the Greater Blue Mountains. This will undoubtedly demonstrate how important areas that were to be flooded are for the recovery of wildlife and habitat.
- The World Heritage Committee must be asked to both welcome the decision not to raise the dam wall, and to firmly oppose any future proposal to raise the dam - given the inevitable harm to the ‘Outstanding Universal Values’ of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.
The unwavering support received since the beginning of this campaign was essential to achieving this outcome, and enabling us to stave off the constant threat of raising the dam from pro-development political interests in Western Sydney. Thank you to our supporters and those involved, we hope you'll continue to stand with us as we fight to close the door on this proposal for good.