Garrett lets down Mary Valley

LABOR has again come under attack over its water plans for the Mary River.

Tiaro-based chair of the Greater Mary Association Darryl Stewart has questioned the economics of allowing 20 megalitres of water a day taken out of the Mary River for Brisbane’s water supply.

The approval of the northern pipeline interconnector was announced in a media release by Federal Minister for the Environment, Peter Garrett’s, office.

It stated the interconnector was given the green light under national environment law but with strict conditions.

A key component of the department’s decision included limiting transport of no more than 20 megalitres of water a day from the Coles Crossing off take on the Mary River, it said.

“This is the amount of water permitted under existing water allocations with an additional two megalitres to allow for measurement error. In light of this limitation, the project will not have a significant impact on matters protected under environmental law.”

The government said the decision was made after “thorough consideration” of the Southern Regional Water Pipeline Company proposal, the Qld Co-ordinator General’s assessment report and public submissions.

“The department has carefully considered the submissions provided by the public and the concerns raised about the potential impact on nationally threatened and migratory species, and the Mary River.”

Mr Stewart has hit out at the cost of the project, saying $450 million to supply one per cent of the south-east corner’s water needs each year is “ridiculous”.

“This premier is determined to wreak havoc on the Mary like a selfish child who is determined to have their own way.”

Also outraged with the decision is Federal Member for Wide Bay Warren Truss.

“People who campaigned against the Traveston Crossing dam have a right to feel deceived and angry at the federal Labor government’s decision to allow up to 8000 megalitres of Mary River water to be piped to Brisbane every year,” he said.

“To say that the approval includes a condition to limit extractions to the existing entitlement of 20 megalitres per day with an additional two megalitres allowance for measurement error is disingenuous. The Mary River can ill afford to sustain permanent extractions at that level.

“The Traveston Crossing dam farce proves that Anna Bligh has no regard for the environment. So how can Mr Garrett trust the state Labor government not to extract as much water as it possibly can every day?

“Labor’s failure to plan for Brisbane’s water security now has all the potential to wreak havoc on the Mary River. Peter Garrett has let the Mary Valley down.”

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