26 May, 2024
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PREMIER – WHERE IS THE DAMN WALL?

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The Premier likes to talk a big game when it comes to Warragamba dam, but here are the facts:
 

  • They have done nothing: This government’s plan was first announced in 2016 – 6 years ago and so far they have done nothing. The Hawkesbury Nepean has flooded 4 times in the last 2 years.
  • Budget: The budget for the proposal has blown out from $690 million to $2 billion – without the inclusion of environmental offsets, which is likely to be at least another $1.34 billion – for a total of over $3.34 billion. Where will they get this money from and how will they pay for it.
  • Unfunded: No funding has ever been allocated to the dam wall raising even though the Premier and the Liberals have been in Government for 12 years.
  • It won’t be ready for at least another 8 years: Even if they start building the wall today, the planning process will take another 3-4 years, and then construction another 5 years.
  • The wall raising won’t stop the flooding for Hawkesbury Nepean communities: 45 per cent of floodwaters in the area originate from catchment areas that are not upstream of Warragamba Dam – the Nepean, the Grose, the Colo River, South Creek and other smaller tributaries.
  • 1,200 Indigenous sites and artefacts at risk — including stone artefacts, sandstone shelters, rock art, scarred trees and engravings — could be damaged or destroyed from the build.
  • The World Heritage listing of the Blue Mountains National Park is at risk.
  • They just want to build more houses on flood plains: The Government wants to build more houses and allow even more people to move into flood risk areas, despite residents having faced 4 flood events in the last 2 years.

Raising the dam wall will not guarantee communities in Western Sydney will be safe from flood events.

Unfortunately, we have to expect and plan for more flooding emergencies in NSW like we have seen this year.

Communities facing continual flood risk – and who have faced floods several times in the last year alone – need urgent action and solutions that can be delivered right now, not in another decade which is what the Premier is proposing.

The Government will also need to look at changing the use of the dam for flood mitigation purposes to provide relief for surrounding communities ahead of flood events. 

While the Premier is all talk and no delivery, Labor has already announced $225 million for a Western Sydney Floods Resilience Plan to commence immediate work on projects including evacuation roads, levees and critical communications infrastructure that will help improve and bolster flood prevention and evacuation infrastructure across Western Sydney.

These are sensible actions we can take right now to help improve the flood resilience and emergency response across these communities.
PENNY SHARPE MLC
NSW LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
 
ROSE JACKSON MLC
NSW SHADOW MINISTER FOR WATER

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