Protesters prepare to fight again
OPPONENTS of the Tweed Shire council's plan to build a massive new dam for future water supplies at Byrrill Creek are prepared to present their “no dam” case all over again to the new State Government.
Anti-dam protesters, who rejoiced late last year when the then Labor Water Minister Phil Costa announced a ban on the proposed dam under a new water sharing policy, are concerned the new government will review that plan.
Their concerns were heightened this week in the wake of a major reshuffle of government departments and the abolition of the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water.
Greens party Upper House MP John Kaye warned during the recent state election campaign that the council was “clearly looking to the next government to overturn the Water Sharing Plan that currently has the Byrrill Creek Dam on hold”.
Earlier this week Mayor Kevin Skinner confirmed he would be asking the O'Farrell Government to review the plan.
Save Byrrill Creek campaign spokeswoman Joanna Gardner said yesterday the group felt their case was still strong, but they might have to put their argument to the government during a re-assessment of the dam proposal.
Ms Gardner said during the election campaign she was told the Coalition wanted “comprehensive and detailed information on the project” from the council.
She was told “if elected, a NSW Liberals and Nationals government would then assess the project, and the issues and risks associated with it”.
Ms Gardner said the group was confident the no-dam case was strong if the new assessment was made “in an unbiased way by the Coalition, based on scientific facts, environmental and biodiversity values, with an opportunity for public commentary”.
She said new parliamentarians also needed to be “quite aware that there are other options for the future water supply of the Tweed”.
“However both the former DECCW and Office of Water had researched the issue of Byrrill Creek dam from April to December 2010, and without that input available now, it will certainly be more difficult,” she added.
“To lose a whole environmental portfolio in the new parliament seems to reflect that environmental issues for the Coalition are not high on their agenda.
“If this is the case, the residents of Tweed who value our special iconic landscape will need to make their views known.”
Ms Gardner believes the Federal Government “will override any NSW State Government decision” allowing the dam.