Put'em up Malcolm -- Turnbull ignites new fury over Tyalgum dam
By ED SOUTHORN
MALCOLM Turnbull has ignited new anger on the Tweed after refusing to accept that Tyalgum%locals face devastating consequences if the Rocky Cutting dam is built.
The federal water minister has finally replied to a written question from Richmond MP Justine Elliot, 13 weeks after it was tabled in Parliament. His response has infuriated Ms Elliot, who describes it as "contemptuous", and inflamed Tweed Valley residents who had started to think the political pressure for a new dam was easing.
Now they are not so sure, after Mr Turnbull yesterday declared he had not seen any evidence to show a Rocky Cutting dam, which would flood parts of Tyalgum, could have devastating consequences for Tweed communities.
Instead, Mr Turnbull argued: "The growing communities of the Tweed are likely to be confronted by severe social, economic and%environmental impacts if reliable%water supplies are not secured."
Save the Caldera Rivers spokesman Ross Boyle said Mr Turnbull's latest comments showed his promises that no dam was planned for the Tweed could not be trusted.
"Politicians who give round-%about comments like these show we have to remain vigilant," Mr Boyle said. "They're just too smart and tricky and sneaky, no-one really knows what's going on."
Ms Elliot asked Mr Turnbull in her written question if the minister was "aware of the devastating social, economic and environmental effects this (dam) proposal will have on the villages which currently rely on the river, and upon the sustainability of the entire Tweed region".
Mr Turnbull replied: "No. I have seen no rigorous scientific, environmental or socio-economic studies to support this contention."
Mr Turnbull said demand for water in the Tweed was likely to rise from around 10,200 megalitres a year in 2005 to 28,000 megalitres in 2050.
He said all water-supply options, including the Rocky Cutting dam identified in the Snowy Mountains Authority report commissioned for the National Water Commission, would require further environmental, economic and social assessment.
But all the options "should be on the table" in order to find the most cost-effective means to augment current water supplies in south-east Queensland and north-east NSW.
"The existence of a state border should not be sufficient reason to rule out any option," Mr Turnbull said.
Ms Elliot said Mr Turnbull's continued failure to rule out the Rocky Cutting dam was making many locals suspicious.
"After weeks of clever words and political spin, Mr Turnbull has finally revealed his hand," Ms Elliot said.
"I find his answer contemptuous.
"Does the minister seriously require a study to tell him that flooding an entire village will have negative impacts? "The minister need only visit Tyalgum, as he has been invited to do on numerous occasions, or read the submissions from the (residents') committee and the dozens of letters sent to him by members of the community to gain some insight into the devastating impact this dam would have. "When Kevin Rudd came to Tyalgum he very clearly said that Labor would stop Malcolm Turnbull's dam plan."