Having my two cents worth

Giving an opinion on world events and news…

Further information on the proposed Traveston dam controversy

Why did Brisbane have the worst floods since 1974? The building of the Wivenhoe dam was meant to stop those floods from ever happening again… yet it happened again.

Three years ago, the former Premier of Queensland, Peter Beattie claimed that with climate change the soaking rains would never happen again, and therefore Queensland needed to find ways of supplying water. Amongst the ideas given was that people should get used to using recycled water (yuk!!).  Peter Beattie also argued in favour of building the Traveston dam, even though the National Party, and the locals in the Mary Valley were against it. The attitude of the locals was insufficient but let’s look at the history of this controversial project.

I found some useful comments on one of Andrew Bolt’s blogs where the subject was raised. Andrew drew on the opinions of the disgraced Tim Flannery, who had made many of the predictions that Beattie believed. You can read the blog post here:

I found some really good information in the comments, written by Dave Ross, Rose and brc ( I hope they do not mind that I am using their comments.

Dave Ross replied to yobbo of Brisbane
Wed 13 Oct 10 (11:09am)

Yobbo OB,
The State Labor government is building the Wyaralong dam as we speak.
The Traveston Crossing Dam was effectively stopped by the Qld. State Coordinator General who finally under intense government pressure, approved the dam but under stringent conditions that virtually made it impossible to build.
The ALP Feds involvement under the EPBC act was inevitable and an easy decision for them.
Not widely known is that the Traveston Crossing Dam site was previously investigated and rejected in 1977 and 1994 by the National and ALP State governments respectively, on economic, engineering, social and environmental grounds.
In 2005 the technical advisory panel to the Water Resource Plan for the Mary Basin reported to the Beattie government that any project involving a dam on the Mary would be subject to scrutiny by the Feds under the EPBC act and would certainly be rejected.
Beattie ignored this advice and declared game on for the TCD in 2006. The scientists have been proven correct.
The EPBC act was introduced under the conservative Howard government in 1999 and had the approval of all political parties, thus in democratic terms, the majority of Australian citizens.
Beattie cost us a fortune by pursuing the TCD nonsense for pure political gain.
He wanted to announce something big before the early 2006 election he wasn’t going to have and at the same time drive a wedge between the Liberal and National parties who were close to merging as the LNP.
The Libs being notionally pro dam and the Nats anti.
That didn’t work and the grandiose Labor dam plan failed us all dismally.

Rose replied to yobbo of Brisbane
Wed 13 Oct 10 (11:26am)

Peter Garrett also checked out the dam on economic grounds. The Centre for International Economics, Canberra, found that the Bligh Govt could not show that Traveston Dam was the best option to meet SEQld`s water needs. Peter Garrett posted this report online after Bligh complained of his decision.

brc replied to yobbo of Brisbane
Wed 13 Oct 10 (11:34am)

The Traveston crossing dam was another white-elephant in the making.  It would have destroyed a lot of productive farmland, and the scientific studies done were not even completed when work started.  The average depth was going to be a few metres, and evaporation was going to be a real issue.  As it was, it devastated a community. It would have cost a few billion and produced expensive water.  There are plenty of other workable and useful sites a lot closer to Brisbane than Traveston crossing.  That’s why it was a bad idea and why it was rightfully killed.  It’s a pity Garrett had to be the one that did it.

The main reason Traveston Crossing was chosen was it was the closest location Beattie could find that was never going to vote for him anyway.

Dave Ross replied to yobbo of Brisbane
Wed 13 Oct 10 (04:13pm)

brc,
Certainly the view that there were only a few National party voters in the area so there would be no political fallout was aired at a caucus meeting and of course there hasn’t been a state Labor member here for over 50 years.
However Pumpkin Pete made quite a large political misjudgement and the ALP has lost every neighbouring seat in the area starting with Noosa.
The ALP member at the time, Cate Molloy lost her endorsement for the seat after voting with the coalition against the dam proposal.
Many people in the seat of Gympie have relatives on the Sunshine Coast and the Wide Bay area.
Blood is thicker than water it seems.
Many members of Kevin Rudd’s mother’s family also live here including his Uncle Kevin who he was named after.

I must admit that I had not heard of the Wyaralong dam, so I gather that this dam is a substitute for the Traveston dam, and obviously it is being built in a better location. What these people are pointing out is that Peter Beattie was being cynical in his choice of location for the needed dam. On top of that, the dam was just completed in time to be filled up from the rains.   It would seem that this time around Peter Garrett made the right choice, not based upon the endangered species in the river, but for economic grounds. 

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