Northern pipeline given go ahead
THE northern pipeline will be allowed to proceed despite the Federal Government's refusal of the Traveston Crossing Dam.
But the government says the interconnector must meet strict environmental conditions.
"The federal environment department has completed its consideration of the Southern Regional Water Pipeline Company proposal, the Queensland Coordinator-General’s assessment report, as well as all public submissions.
"A departmental delegate has determined that, with the mitigation measures in place and the strict conditions imposed on the project, it will not have unacceptable impacts on nationally protected matters,'' a statement said.
"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.
"A key component of the department’s approval decision includes limiting the transport of no more than 20 megalitres a day from the Coles Crossing offtake on the Mary River.
"This is the amount of water permitted under existing water allocations with an additional 2 megalitres to allow for measurement error.
"In light of this limitation, the project will not have a significant impact on matters protected under national environment law.''
"To minimise possible impacts on nationally protected species, the department is requiring the company to undertake further surveying and prepare a number of management and monitoring plans.
"These plans must be approved by the federal government before construction can begin in areas where nationally protected matters may occur.
"The company must also prepare, within three months, an overarching environmental management plan showing how it will minimise impacts on these nationally protected species along the pipeline route.''
Earlier this month protesters turned their sights on the $450 million second stage water grid pipeline, saying it would only steal water from the Mary River.
Greater Mary Association president Darryl Stewart said water from the Mary River was already over-allocated.
He said the amount already being sucked from the system meant the river had, before Christmas, stopped flowing below the barrage at Tiaro, impacting on the Great Sandy Strait recreational and commercial fishing stocks.
Sunshine Coast mayor Bob Abbot has backed calls for the second stage of the pipeline to be dumped
Cr Abbot said it was nonsensical to lay 1200mm pipes to take water that flowed from the Mary through 600 mm pipes to council's Lake Macdonald treatment plant. He said the plant lacked the capacity to fill the pipeline anyway.
The Northern Pipeline Alliance, which has been contracted to build the pipeline, has already begun stockpiling pipes along the proposed route from Eudlo to Lake Macdonald.
To view the conditions placed on the project, go to www.environment.gov.au.