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Tuesday, 28 September 1971
Page: 1608

Dr Everingham asked the Minister for the Environment. Aborigines and the Arts, upon notice:

1.   Can he say whether more mainlanders than Tasmanians use Lake St Clair-Cradle Mountain National Park as a recreation resort and if this is likely to occur also at Lake Pedder if it is not despoiled by Tasmania's Hydro-Electric Commission.

2.   Can he also say whether the Commission's decision to use Lake Pedder as a canal from the Serpentine Dam is due to the extra cost of by passing the Lake for the Gordon Power Scheme.

3.   Will he confer with the Tasmanian Government on the possibility of saving Lake Pedder with the help of low interest loans to Tasmania from the Commonwealth Bank.

Mr Howson - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

1.   1 do not know. 2 and 3. The Tasmanian Minister for Tourism and Immigration has advised me that he is replying to representations concerning Lake Pedder as follows:

While 1 appreciate the sincerity ot your views I find it surprising that this issue has been raised again at this late stage, particularly when the planned raising of the water level is virtually imminent.

I can only emphasize that many proposed layouts were considered by the Hydro-Electric Commission's engineers prior to the submission of the recommended scheme of development to Parliament in 1967.

No practicable scheme could be devised to save' Lake Pedder at an economic cost acceptable to the State. The by-pass scheme which is being revived was considered before the present scheme was approved. Estimates of cost for this arrangement were submitted to the Select Committee of the Legislative Council set up to examine the Cordon River and Thermal Power ; Station Development proposals in 1967. It was the opinion of the Select Committee that the considerable extra expenses involved could not ; . be justified by the partial preservation of the area resulting from the proposal.

Revised estimates, taking into account various factors too involved to detail here, together ' with the escalation of costs since 1967, showed that the by-pass flume arrangement to 'save' Lake Pedder would cost approximately $25 million more than the scheme which was approved by Parliament.

You will appreciate that a decision by Parliament can only be reversed or modified by Parliament itself and the Government has no intention tion of recommending to Parliament that the j Gordon Power scheme should be modified. 1 I repeat that the scheme is the most econom ical of various proposals which have been considered and it is not proposed to burden the State economy by introducing costly changes which are beyond our financial resources.*

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