Farmer Doug Haigh in the shade of a 300-year-old tree that could fall foul of the proposed Traveston Crossing dam.
Farmer Doug Haigh in the shade of a 300-year-old tree that could fall foul of the proposed Traveston Crossing dam.

Will Garrett destroy 300yo tree?

STANDING almost 300 years old and stretching its limbs 45 metres into the Queensland skies, it is a natural work of art which could come to symbolise Peter Garrett’s imminent decision on the Traveston dam.

The fig tree, valued at about $100,000, nestles in the heart of the proposed dam site and its fate, as much as that of the dam, rests in the hands of the environment minister.

Continued speculation about the timing of a final decision on the $1.8 billion dam was like water torture to people of the Fraser Coast and Mary Valley yesterday.

A spokesman for Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett confirmed yesterday only that the decision would come this week.

However there was little concern about Premier Anna Bligh recanting an earlier promise to bring the decision to the Mary Valley in person.

“There is not a lot of respect for that level of government here,” counsellor and Gympie Uniting Church Reverend Iain Watt said.

“It is better she doesn’t come. People don’t want blood; they are focused on the future.”

Mr Garrett may announce his “proposed” decision on the dam today but even that will not bring closure to the valley.

It is a proposed decision because a 10-day window then exists for other relevant ministers and the Queensland government to comment.

Mr Garrett was urged yesterday by Save the Mary chief Glenda Pickersgill to rethink a decision to exclude the community from that process.

“The community does have a stake in this as well as the proponent,” she said.

Save the Mary organisers were late yesterday using an email chain and SMS to gather a huge crowd to either celebrate victory in the campaign or to begin organising future resistance as soon as Mr Garrett’s intent is known.

If Mr Garrett approves the dam, Ms Pickersgill said his statement of reasons for that decision would determine the grounds for any court appeal.

She said the minister should also release the full report of recommendations from his department.

“I feel pretty confident the science backs us,” Ms Pickersgill said. “If Garrett decides on the science his answer will be no,” she said.



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