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Tuesday, 26 August 2008
Page: 6294


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

(1)   Is he aware of statements by the Queensland Treasurer in State Parliament on 15 May 2008 that the Queensland Government has already spent $500 million on the Traveston Crossing Dam project.

(2)   Has he received the environmental impact statement for this project.

(3)   Does the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 preclude the commencement of a project before approvals have been completed.

(4)   If he has not received the environmental impact statement for this project and if the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 precludes the commencement of a project before approvals have been completed, will he halt the construction of the Traveston Crossing Dam until it is appropriate to proceed; if not, why not.


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

(1)   I am aware that the Queensland Treasurer, Mr Andrew Fraser, on 13 May 2008, referred to a $500 million investment for the proposed Traveston Crossing Dam. This was in relation to a question without notice from a Queensland Opposition Member of Parliament regarding the Queensland Opposition’s plan to climate proof south-east Queensland’s water supplies, including scrapping the Traveston Crossing Dam proposal.

(2)   The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was received by my Department on 18 October 2007, and was subsequently open for public comments until 14 January 2008. The Supplementary Report to the EIS, which will take the public comments into account, is still being finalised by the proponent. My decision-making role under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 commences upon receipt of the Queensland Coordinator-General’s Assessment Report which follows the finalisation of the Supplementary Report.

(3)   The EPBC Act precludes the commencement of an action before the assessment process is complete and a decision made on the proposal.

(4)   Construction of the Traveston Crossing Dam has not commenced. I am aware that various investigative geotechnical and other works have been undertaken by the proponent to inform the environmental impact assessment process and other design related aspects of the proposal. My Department was notified of these activities, however such works are not considered part of the action referred for the purposes of assessment and approval under the EPBC Act, which is the construction and operation of the Traveston Crossing Dam. Accordingly, the question of halting the project until it is appropriate to proceed does not arise.