Prime Minister Kevin Rudd talks to Greater Mary Association research co-ordinator Tanzi Smith outside Hervey Bay Hospital yesterday.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd talks to Greater Mary Association research co-ordinator Tanzi Smith outside Hervey Bay Hospital yesterday. ALISTAIR BRIGHTMAN

Appealing to PM’s conscience

FLEETING it may have been but anti-Traveston dam protesters believe their meet and greet with Kevin Rudd at the entrance to Hervey Bay Hospital can still have a lasting effect.

Every time the Prime Minister sips his morning coffee from the I Love Mary mug he was presented with yesterday, he may just be reminded of the Traveston dam controversy.

Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett has until November 18 to make a final decision on the $1.8 billion dam and protesters were not shy in their last gasp efforts to influence Mr Garrett’s boss yesterday.

Mr Rudd may also think long and hard about the potential effects the plan could have in his home state whenever he picks up his new No Dam pen.

And his memories of swimming in the Mary River may even be jogged every time he glances at his new Mary River book.

As Mr Rudd climbed out of his car yesterday morning he by-passed the hospital entrance to introduce himself to dam campaigners wearing their signature t-shirts and holding familiar Don’t Murray Our Mary placards.

Mr Rudd shook the hands of every protester before accepting the presents and giving slight hope with the words: “Don’t worry I’ve swum in the Mary I know it’s a beautiful place.”

Then he turned on his heels and strode through a scrum of journalists and photographers as the quiet voice of Greater Mary Association research co-ordinator Tanzi Smith trailed behind.

But despite Ms Smith’s words not getting the attention she desired, the protest was still deemed successful.

“I think it was a good gesture that he came over and met everybody and he has said in the media before that he knows that this is a big issue,” Ms Smith said.

“We’re here to remind him that the Fraser Coast cares about this issue as well and will be affected (and) to reiterate the dam won’t increase Brisbane’s water security and the Federal Government’s own policies on water would be much more sustainable.”

She said the group viewed Mr Rudd’s role as capable of influencing Queensland Premier Anna Bligh in adopting other methods for water security.

Letter to Garrett

WITH just two weeks to go before Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett makes his decision on the proposed Traveston Crossing dam, Hervey Bay MP Ted Sorensen has written to the Labor member.

“Ihave asked Peter to consider in his deliberations on Traveston whatconstruction this dam may have on the Great Sandy Strait Biosphere andMarine Park.

“The Sandy Strait is classified as a Ramsar Wetland;Ramsar Wetlands are rare or unique wetlands and are important forconserving biological diversity.

"After the devastating effectyears of neglect, water damming, irrigation and abuse has had on theMurray River and wetlands, how is the Traveston dam going to affect thebiodiversity and sustainability of the Great Sandy Strait?”

MrSorensen has asked Mr Garrett to carefully consider the preservation ofgenetic resources, ecosystems and landscapes and to look at thescientific research into the dam.



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