Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 14 September 2009
Page: 9500

Mr SOMLYAY (9:39 PM) —Yesterday morning, like other people in South-East Queensland, I woke up, opened the Sunday Mail and read the most disturbing news that my electorate and South-East Queensland have heard for a long, long time. That news was that Anna Bligh had made the announcement, late on Saturday, that the Traveston Crossing dam would proceed, after having promised that it would not proceed for several years. The Traveston Crossing dam was announced by Peter Beattie three or four years ago, when that area was in my electorate.

I follow on from the member for Wide Bay, who spoke about the Bruce Highway and the dangerous piece of road between Gympie and Cooroy. At that stage that part of the highway was in my electorate. It came as a shock to me, as the former Minister for Trade said, that after we had spent $6 million identifying the new route of the four-lane Bruce Highway Peter Beattie announced that 11 kilometres of that highway would disappear under a dam. The state Minister for Main Roads is the man who is responsible for planning that road. I could not understand the stupidity of the state government, where you have one minister planning a new highway and, next door, another minister planning to flood it. It just seemed ludicrous. I was very concerned because all the money that we spent, the government spent, on the Bruce Highway went to waste. The amount of money that the member for Wide Bay, as minister, made available to the dairy industry through dairy deregulation—the compensation that the Commonwealth paid to dairy farmers to establish new industries in that area, those hundreds of millions of dollars—was going under water.

There was a massive protest by the people of Mary Valley, by the people of Noosa and by the people of the Sunshine Coast against the Traveston Crossing dam. I attended a meeting with the member for Wide Bay—we sat next to each other—which Peter Beattie addressed for a solid six hours listening to complaints, but he would not listen. He went right ahead with that dam, with his proposal. There was no listening.

The people of Wide Bay include the people of Mary Valley. I have never seen such trauma, such disappointment and such heartache as I did with the people who had their properties resumed for the Traveston dam. Both the member for Wide Bay and I made it very clear that our hands were tied, that state governments are responsible for land use—not the Commonwealth government—but that under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act the Commonwealth is empowered to prevent the dam going ahead on environmental grounds, if they are sustainable grounds.

Senator Ian Campbell, at the time the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, required the state government to go through a process, as required under the EPBC Act, before approval would be given for that dam. Anna Bligh, the Queensland Premier, said on 28 November last year that the start of the construction of the Traveston dam would be postponed for several years. That was the promise. Anna Bligh also told parliament that the Coordinator-General had been assessing the impact of the Traveston Crossing dam and it would take several years.

Mr Truss —That was before the election.

Mr SOMLYAY —That was before the election. Today I had question No. 10 to the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts. The question I intended asking the minister, about the backflip by the Premier, was: ‘Would you give us an ironclad guarantee that your environmental assessment of the project would not simply be a political rubber stamp for Anna Bligh for this disastrous dam?’ I hope that the minister responds to my comments tonight in a favourable way. (Time expired)