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Tuesday, 26 August 2008
Page: 6290


Mr Truss asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, in writing, on 26 June 2008:

(1)   Since becoming the Minister for Environment, Heritage and the Arts, has he visited the site for the proposed Traveston Crossing Dam in the company of Mr Graeme Newton of Queensland Water Infrastructure.

(2)   Can he indicate whether the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, when Shadow Minister for Water, visited the site for the proposed Traveston Crossing Dam during 2007 in the company of Mr Newton.

(3)   Will he provide equal time to listen to the views of opponents of the Traveston Crossing Dam as he has spent with Mr Newton; if not, why not.

(4)   Has he accepted hospitality from proponents of the proposed Traveston Crossing Dam.

(5)   Is he aware of a perception that such acceptance of hospitality could potentially compromise his capacity to independently evaluate the outcome of the environmental impact assessment of the project.


Mr Garrett (Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(1)   Yes, I visited the site on 3 March 2008.

(2)   This question should be directed to the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government.

(3)   During my visit to Gympie, Kandanga, the site of the proposed Traveston Crossing Dam and environs on 3 March 2008 I met with representatives from a number of groups who oppose the proposed dam. Consistent with the requirements of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, I will ensure that I have all the information I need before me to make a fully informed decision, including both the public comments in response to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (‘EIS’) and the response of the proponent to those comments.

(4)   During the visit to the project site a light afternoon tea was provided by Queensland Water Infrastructure, proponents of Traveston Crossing Dam. The representatives of the community groups also provided refreshments for my staff and I during our meeting later that afternoon.

(5)   I do not agree that my acceptance of light refreshments, whether provided by the proponent or the community groups, will create the perception suggested in the question. My decision on the proposed Traveston Crossing Dam will be evidence-based and according to law.