No dam for Tyalgum
FEDERAL Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull has categorically ruled out the Rocky Cutting Dam. In a letter on Tuesday to Nationals Richmond candidate Sue Page, Mr Turnbull declared the Howard% government "will not dam the Oxley River". Mr Turnbull's latest letter says: "The National Water Commission will not be progressing further work to investigate the (water supply) options identified by the SMEC report. "The federal government has no intention of building a dam on the Oxley River, nor the ability to do so under the Constitution. "I reiterate, the federal government will not dam the Oxley River." The declaration has been welcomed by Save the Caldera Rivers spokesman Peter Bennett. Dr Page was forced to ask Mr Turnbull for the no-dam confirmation, following a letter last week from Mr Turnbull to Mr Bennett. Mr Bennett obtained this earlier letter after meeting Mr Turnbull in Sydney to argue against the Rocky Cutting Dam. Mr Bennett in the Daily News on Monday dismissed as inadequate Mr Turnbull's first letter, which said only that the government had "no plans" to build a new Tweed dam. Mr Bennett accused Mr Turnbull of failing to honour a verbal undertaking the dam would not be built. Yesterday Mr Bennett said he was now satisfied with Mr Turnbull's latest written response. "We'll probably have a bottle of wine to celebrate," Mr Bennett said. "That first letter had too many weasel words. "It would have been easy to say, if they did decide to build the dam, 'well, we didn't have a plan back then, but we've got one now'. "It had too many outs, but this latest letter is a specific commitment and will be a tremendous relief for a lot of people. People who had their houses on the market couldn't sell." Mr Bennett congratulated Dr Page for her "sterling effort to get a commitment from Mr Turnbull". Labor's Richmond MP Justine Elliot said the backdown was a long time coming after months of local community efforts to have the dam proposal withdrawn. "This is a community victory," Ms Elliot said. Dr Page said Mr Turnbull's no-dam promises followed an assurance from Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile more than two months ago that there was no plan to dam the Oxley River. "The federal government never had any intention to dam the Oxley," Dr Page said. "This was a furphy started by Labor following the release of the SMEC report (looking at water supply options)." Mr Bennett said Dr Page's chances of winning Richmond would have been severely reduced if Mr Turnbull had not categorically ruled out the dam.