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Wednesday, 23 May 2007
Page: 152


Mrs ELLIOT (9:36 AM) —I rise today to speak on a very important issue in my electorate: the Howard government’s recent proposal to build a dam at Tyalgum and send the water from northern New South Wales to Queensland. Locals are outraged about this plan, as well they should be—indeed, I am as well—and locals want their voices heard. Barbara Goodrich of Tyalgum wrote a letter to the editor of the Daily News on 22 May 2007 in which she said:

... we are Australian rural and village residents who want to preserve our family homes, lives and businesses.

We are demonstrating our democratic right of free speech and the right to disagree with the ridiculous proposals being set forth by the federal government.

Barbara went on to say that the plan will:

... impact on the entire Tweed Region including tourism, the Tweed economy, environment, and our international image.

The Caldera Residents Action Group also opposes the dam, saying:

A dam this big will drown half of Tyalgum, leaving the pub at the water’s edge. This will probably necessitate the relocation of Tyalgum village.

Dozens of properties will need to be resumed and some agriculture practices may be phased out to prevent pollution. The village of Tyalgum may cease to be or be transformed into an isolated lakeside hamlet.

Rocky Cutting Dam will destroy a priceless remnant stand of subtropical lowland rainforest. This area contains several endangered and vulnerable plants that are endemic to the Tweed area.

Angela Keenan from Rocky Cutting, the site of the proposed dam, has been very active in opposing these plans. Angela has said: ‘This is disgusting. It’s un-Australian.’ Karen Nixon from the Tyalgum store pointed out in a letter to the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources that 2007 is Tyalgum’s centenary year. She said in her letter:

This government cannot flood such a village and environs steeped in history such as this.

Over our shop counter we are hearing a constant stream of protests, comments of devastation and disbelief from locals and visitors that the concept of a dam could even be considered in this heritage park area and that the water we treat with respect in this valley is earmarked for the city of swimming pools and spas, Brisbane!

This stroke of a pen action by the federal government would destroy not only our personal long term dreams, but those of many like us who have established businesses in the area and re-settled here.

I am very pleased today to have been able to make the voices of locals in my electorate heard here. Locals have called on the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources to rule out a dam in northern New South Wales, and so do I. I am totally opposed to the plans of the environment minister, the Prime Minister and the National Party to build a dam in our local area and take water from our rivers for use by the overdeveloped Gold Coast. As the federal member for Richmond, I make no apologies for standing up for locals and fighting to protect the best interests of the residents of the Richmond electorate. Our community will continue to stand united on this issue and fight to stop this dam, and I call on the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources to come forward and rule out the plans for this dam, which has caused so much local anxiety and angst. He should come forward and rule it out immediately. It will destroy our local community. I call on him today to rule that out.