In an extraordinary backflip by Matt Kean, the self-proclaimed ‘greatest environment Minister in Australia’s history’ has abandoned his pledge to be a ‘robust voice for the Blue Mountains National Park’.
At a dinner in 2019 Kean proclaimed that:
“As the Environment Minister, I intend on being a very loud and robust voice, standing up for our environment and that includes standing up for the Blue Mountains National Park when it comes to the raising of the Warragamba Dam wall.”
Today that robust voice turned to a whisper. Matt Kean has abandoned his promise to stand up for national parks and world heritage protection.
Mr Kean likes to talk a big game but today he has shown his talk is worth nothing. The people of NSW cannot trust anything he says.
Mr Kean has today endorsed the Premier’s breathtakingly ignorant comment to ‘put people before plants’. Together the Premier and Treasurer have committed the government to erasing unique Aboriginal cultural heritage and ignoring traditional owners, they endanger the World Heritage listing of the Blue Mountains National Park and the millions of tourism dollars and jobs that go with that and they shred any notion that this government is committed to saving threatened species.
On the economics of the dam wall dam wall raising Matt Kean in 2019 said:
“Now, whether you agree with that or you don’t, the reality is there are other ways that you can mitigate the potential for floods along that river. I think that the economics of raising the dam wall will make that project unviable, unviable.”
Today, he would not declare whether he still believes this, instead stating “what I’m saying is that there is more to this project than just the cost benefit analysis”.
So the question for Matt Kean is how much funding will be allocated to the wall raising and how will he pay for it, and what is the cost benefit of the project?
The truth of the matter is this:
After 12 years in Government and four floods in the Hawkesbury, the Premier and the Treasurer have done nothing.
As the next big rain event begins, and with serious threats of more flooding this government has no plan for immediate flood mitigation right now.
The Government have had 12 years to improve evacuation routes, improve roads and infrastructure and find ways to use the existing infrastructure for mitigation. They have not done any of this work.
Instead, right before the election they grandstand about an unfunded project with no business case that won’t stop flooding in the catchment, is economically unviable, environmentally reckless and won’t be delivered anytime soon.
The people of New South Wales will see right through Matt Kean and this Government.
PENNY SHARPE MLC
NSW SHADOW MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT
NSW SHADOW MINISTER FOR HERITAGE