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Tuesday, 14 August 2007
Page: 145

Mrs Elliot asked the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, in writing, on 10 May 2007:

(1)   Will he rule out the proposal to construct a dam on the Oxley River in Northern NSW in order to pipe water to the Nerang River in South East Queensland as outlined in the recent report Integrated Water Supply Options for North East NSW and South East Queensland.

(2)   Is he aware of the devastating social, economic and environmental effects this proposal will have on the villages which currently rely on the river, and upon the sustainability of the entire Tweed Region.

Mr Turnbull (Minister for the Environment and Water Resources) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(1)   There is no proposal to construct a dam, only a report identifying a range of options. There is a clear need to augment the current water supplies of both south east Queensland and north east NSW. All options should be on the table in order to find the most cost effective means to supply this water. The existence of a state border should not be sufficient reason to rule out any option.

(2)   No. I have seen no rigorous scientific environmental or socio-economic studies to support this contention. The recent report Integrated Water Supply Options for North East NSW and South East Queensland identifies that the demand for water in the Tweed Shire is likely to rise from around 10,200 megalitres per year in 2005 to around 28,000 megalitres per year in 2050. The growing communities of the Tweed Region are likely to be confronted by severe social, economic and environmental impacts if reliable water supplies are not secured. As noted in the report, all options to construct dams to supply water for north east NSW and south east Queensland will require further detailed environmental, economic and social assessment.