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Thursday, 14 February 2013

Barry O'Farrell needs to wise-up his federal colleagues on water planning

Media release: 14 February 2013

The Greens are calling on NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell to deliver a water planning training session to his federal colleagues before they commit NSW to dams that are unnecessary, expensive and damaging to the environment.

('Tony Abbott's bold water plan leaked', Daily Telegraph, 14 Feb, page 1, http://j.mp/12zVSFu)

Greens NSW MP John Kaye said: "Building dams without first asking what the water is needed for and what is the cheapest way to ensure water security is old thinking.

"Ultimately it proves to be very expensive for households and the environment.

"For at least three decades it has been well known that urban water conservation and recycling are lower cost, reduce effluent discharge and avoid the need to destroy important ecological assets.

"NSW has already been through this debate in the Hunter with Tillegra Dam and the Tweed with the Byrrill Creek project.

"Both these dams were tested in rigorous environmental assessments and both were found to be unnecessary.

"Putting those projects back on the agenda will damage local economies, plunge communities back into uncertainty and waste another four years.

"No rigorous assessment would allow those dams to go ahead.

"Neither households nor the environment can afford the consequences of a series of white elephants across NSW.

"The lesson of the Tillegra debacle is that rigorous, least-cost water planning should not be subverted by the politics of announcing big projects.

"The O'Farrell government promised to take Tillegra off the agenda, yet their federal colleagues are busy undermining the Lower Hunter Water Planning process.

"This is a test for the Premier. He must persuade the Federal Opposition to abandon any plans for a Tillegra Dam or face the electoral consequences," Dr Kaye said.

For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455

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