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Pipeline report lacking detail.

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The Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP Shadow Minister for Environment, Heritage and the Arts Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Federal Liberal Member for Murray

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Media Enquiries: Robert Hardie 02 6277 4477 / 0418 432 909

Pipeline report lacking detail

Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett has no alternative but to reject the Project Impact Assessment (PIA) report on the north south pipeline recently, submitted by the Victorian Government in response to the Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation (EPBC) Act, Federal Member for Murray, Dr Sharman Stone said

“In preparing information for the Minister the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts sought clarification from the Alliance members consisting of Melbourne Water, GHD Pty Ltd, Sinclair Knight Merz Pty Ltd and John Holland regarding a number of aspects of the Victorian Government submission.

“The Report must be rejected on the grounds that the Victorian Government surveys of the Striped Legless Lizard habitats and the Matted Flax-lily will not be completed until spring-summer of 2008-2009. In fact throughout the Victorian Government Report submitted to the

Commonwealth there is reference to survey work being carried out between August 2008 and January 2009,” Sharman Stone said.

As well in relation to the down stream effects on the Goulburn River the Alliance states that the impact beyond the Goulburn Weir has not been assessed.

“The Alliance response also included information on the recent discovery of breeding Trout Cod in the Goulburn River downstream of the Goulburn Weir and yet the on the Victorian Government’s PIA report stated “With regards to Matters of National Significance, there is no evidence that EPBC listed native fish species (Murray cod, Trout cod or Macquarie

perch) exist in the river in self-sustaining populations.”

“Minister Garrett should quickly realise that the information he has been provided is not a comprehensive and accurate environmental assessment of the full implications of taking more water out of the Goulburn River catchment. No assessment can be made until all survey work is completed and the final report completed. In order to properly discharge his duties under the EPBC Act the Minister must demand a thorough investigation of the environmental effects of taking water from the Murray Darling Basin and the Goulburn River in particular, given the recent report on the degraded state of health of the Basin and in particular the health of the Goulburn River, which is rated the most degraded and stressed in the Basin.

“Minister Garrett must not be bullied into making the wrong decision by Premier Brumby to satisfy his failure to properly plan for a future water supply for Melbourne. Compromising food production and the high security environmental water reserve in Eildon Dam cannot be allowed,” Sharman Stone said.