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Bartlett calls on Environment Minister to ensure a fully independent impact assessment of Queensland dams.

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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Andrew Bartlett Deputy Parliamentary Leader and Democrats Senator for Queensland Australian Democrats spokesperson for Environment & Animal Welfare

Dated: 05 October 2006 Press Release Number: yctechwb Portfolio: Environment & Animal Welfare

Bartlett Calls on Environment Minister to Ensure a Fully Independent Impact Assessment of Queensland Dams

Queensland Democrat Senator Andrew Bartlett has written to the federal Environment Minister, Ian Campbell, asking him to use his legal powers to ensure the Beattie governments proposed dams are given a fully independent environmental impact assessment.

"There is no doubt that the Queensland government is determined to build these dams, regardless of their economic and hydrological viability and regardless of the social and environment damage," Senator Bartlett said.

"The federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act clearly provides the federal Minister with the power to require an independent and public inquiry into the dams' impacts, and that is what Minister Campbell should do.

"There is simply no way the Queensland government can be trusted to set the grounds for the environmental impact assessments on these projects. After visiting the Traveston area yesterday, Acting Premier Anna Bligh could do no better than peddle the line that these dams are essential for south-east Queensland's water grid, a claim which is simply dishonest.

Senator Bartlett visited the town of Kandanga near the site of the proposed Traveston Crossing dam wall last week to attend a meeting of local residents campaigning against the dam.

"There is no doubt there is still a strong determination to fight this dam, and the Queensland Democrats will be making our campaign against these dams and in favour of an economically and environmentally sensible water policy - a core priority from now until next year's federal election.

"The Democrats were pivotal in significantly strengthening federal environment laws through the EPBC Act in 1999. If this law had not been passed, the many thousands of Queenslanders who are against these dams would have little hope against an intransigent and arrogant state government.

"However, it's one thing to have a strong law, and another to get a Minister to use it. The test is now on the Coalition's federal members in South East Queensland to help pressure their Ministerial colleague to make sure the full processes of the law are applied to these highly contentious projects," Senator Bartlett said.