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Securing the water future of SE Queensland and NE NSW.



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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP Australian Minister for the Environment and Water Resources

T 41/07 12 April 2007

SECURING THE WATER FUTURE OF SE QUEENSLAND AND NE NSW

Today I have released a study identifying five options to improve water security in south east Queensland (SE QLD) and north east New South Wales (NE NSW) by moving water from the north eastern rivers of NSW.

The study, commissioned at my request by the National Water Commission, was undertaken by the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation Australia (SMEC).

I requested this report because it is important that SE QLD consider all the available options for water supply; everything has to be on the table and inevitably SE QLD will need a range of new water sources. The more geographically diverse are the water sources, the more resilient SE QLD’s water supplies will be to drought.

SMEC has identified, for the first time in the history of such studies, on the ground projects to extract at least 50,000 megalitres of water per year from north eastern rivers of NSW to meet future water demands of SE QLD and NE NSW.

SMEC considered more than 40 options and refined these down to five options, and tested the financial viability of each. The preliminary findings are very promising. The indicative costs are significantly less than the costs of the new water supply projects currently being undertaken in SE Queensland.

The likely water volumes and indicative cost per kilolitre for each of the options from this analysis are: • a dam on the Clarence River upstream of Duck Creek with a pipeline to the Logan River to provide up to 100,000 megalitres per annum at around $1.73 per kilolitre; • a dam on the Mann River with a pipeline to the Logan River to provide up to 100,000

megalitres per annum at around $2.04 per kilolitre; • a dam on the Tweed River with transfer to the Nerang River to provide up to 20,000 megalitres per annum at around $1.42 per kilolitre; • a dam on Tooloom Creek with a pipeline to the Logan River to provide up to 20,000 megalitres

per annum at around $1.65 per kilolitre; and • a weir on the Mann River with a pipeline to the Logan River to provide up to 50,000 megalitres per annum at around $2.12 per kilolitre.

The Australian Government will commission further studies to comprehensively assess and compare the options. These will carefully and closely consider all environmental and social impacts. This will require the active co-operation of the QLD and NSW governments.

Today I call on the states of QLD and NSW to contribute to this study as equal partners.

To date, NSW has refused to co-operate with this study into the feasibility of transferring water from NE NSW into SE QLD. I call on Mr Iemma to show that he is an Australian first. SE QLD faces both a short and long term water shortage. It is one of the engine rooms of Australia and we

all have a vital interest in its growth and prosperity. SE QLD needs water to live and to grow and it is clear that there is considerable potential for that water to be provided from NSW.

At the same time, NE NSW needs new water supplies for growth and, given both SE QLD and NE NSW are closely linked in every respect, it makes perfect sense for a long term integrated water supply scheme to be created which serves both sides of the border.

A key consideration in further examination of these options is that any water supply scheme be environmentally sustainable and, in addition, not detrimentally affect the supply and quality of water to current and future recipients in NSW.

The report can be found on the National Water Commission website at http://www.nwc.gov.au/publications/index.cfm

Media contact: Brad Burke 02 6277 7640 or 0400 337 252