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Lawrence Springborg responds to Brisbane Save The Mary River Questionnaire

On 8 March I responded to a questionnaire from the Brisbane Save The Mary River Questionnaire group and sent copies to other candidates contesting the seat of Mount Coot-tha, as well as to Premier Anna Bligh and to Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg. Lawrence Springborg replied on the same day by 12.30PM. His response is below and my response to that is further below.

Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg's response

Dear Mr Sinnamon

... it is clear that the Labor Government has not followed due process or properly considered the social, environmental and economic implications of building a dam at Traveston Crossing.

Thank you for your email received this morning regarding the proposed Traveston Dam.

The Traveston Dam is a ridiculous proposal, and it is clear that the Labor Government has not followed due process or properly considered the social, environmental and economic implications of building a dam at Traveston Crossing.

In fact, this dam has never been even mentioned in the various water planning reports developed over the past 12 years, and was resoundingly rejected in a 1994 report into possible water supply sources for the Sunshine Coast and Mary Valley.

I fear the Premier only announced this project to be seen to be doing something about the water crisis gripping the rapidly growing south east Queensland region, a crisis the Government created by failing to plan and develop new water supply sources over the past 10 years.

I fear the Premier only announced this project to be seen to be doing something about the water crisis gripping the rapidly growing south east Queensland region ...

I have traveled to the Gympie region on a number of occasions to meet with affected landholders and inspect the proposed dam site.

We have confirmed we would not build the Traveston Crossing dam. In addition, the LNP has a broad ranging plan to fix the water crisis the Labor Government has created by building more appropriate water infrastructure, ensuring more water is recycled and ensuring water is used more efficiently.

The establishment of a desalination plant close to Bribie Island could provide water to South East Queensland at less than half the price of water from the proposed Traveston Crossing Dam and more importantly it would not be dependant on rainfall. Desalination can provide water in two and a half - three years whereas Traveston Dam won't deliver meaningful water supplies until 2013.

Shadow Infrastructure Minister Fiona Simpson and Shadow Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation Minister David Gibson have stated in media releases that the desalination barges proposal proved water could be delivered faster and cheaper than Traveston Crossing Dams.

I invite you to visit www.climateproof.com.au for details of the LNP's Climate Proof and Water Policy.

Thank you for taking the time to bring your views to my attention.

Yours sincerely
Lawrence Springborg
Leader of the Opposition
Leader of the LNP

My further response

Dear Lawrence Springborg,

Firstly, I greatly appreciate your very prompt response to my query (in 2hrs 20 minutes).

And thank you for having reaffirmed the Liberal National Party's (LNP) opposition to the Traveston Dam.

Thank you, also, for explaining some of the background to the decision by this Government for its choice of Traveston as the site. According to former Labor MP Cate Molloy the site was chosen, not because it was the most suitable site, but because the affected residents were solid National Party voters and, hence, deemed by this Government to be politically expendable.

The details of the Opposition's proposed alternatives to the Traveston Dam were also most helpful.

However, my own stance is against desalination (which the LNP supports) and against industrial water recycling (which I understand the LNP also opposes) and for more ecologically sustainable solutions. I oppose water recycling and desalination because they are technologically complex, expensive and depend upon the burning of fossil fuels. I believe we should move back to simpler more environmentally friendly technologies such as rainwater tanks and restrictions on water use.

However, any further water restrictions must be made with the clear understanding that they will not be means to allow the Queensland Government to cram even more people into Queensland. Rather they must only be a temporary measure to eliminate any necessity to dam the Mary Valley or Wyaralong in the Beaudesert region or to build any more desalination or recycling plants.

Population growth, the ultimate cause of Queensland's water crises

This brings me, again, to the main point from my previous response to the Save the Mary River Brisbane Group.

Your letter, by implicitly accepting that South East Queensland's population must necessarily continue to grow rapidly, pre-empts the most obvious solution to the water crisis.

If Queensland had not doubled its population to 4 million from 1974 to 2005, there would have been no water crisis. If Queensland's population increases by several more millions in coming years, as your letter implies, further water crises are practically guaranteed.

In fact, it is not predetermined that Queensland's population will continue to grow, rather it is a conscious choice made by governments, in this case, the Queensland and Federal Labor Governments. They could just as easily choose to end population growth.

In fact, it is not predetermined that Queensland's population will continue to grow, rather it is a conscious choice made by governments, in this case, the Queensland and Federal Labor Governments. They could just as easily choose to end population growth.

Every democratic society have the right to decide what its population will be, contrary to what the newspapers and others promoting population growth would have us believe. I believe that choice should be made available to the public at this election.

I therefore ask that you acknowledge the obvious harm caused to Queensland by population growth, not just in regard to our water security, but to our overall quality of life, to our economy, our finances, our natural environment and our long term sustainability. Accordingly, I also ask you to commit an incoming Liberal National Government to reversing the Bligh Labor Government's irresponsible encouragement of population growth.

Population growth doesn't pay for itself. For instance, the building of new infrastructure to provide water for a larger population have cost Queenslanders financially in higher water and council rates.

In my own experience, all the supposed economic arguments in favour of population growth and high immigration have not withstood intellectual scrutiny, for example, in on-line forum discussions. Population growth doesn't pay for itself. For instance, the building of new infrastructure to provide water for a larger population have cost Queenslanders financially in higher water and council rates. Another cost is the massive bill for the state Government's and Brisbane City Council's road, bridge and tunnel building projects, which have been explained as necessary due to past population increases.

If you still have any lingering doubt that further population growth is harmful, I urge you to obtain a copy of Mark O'Connor's Overloading Australia published in 2008. It costs only AU$20.00 and its 184 pages are very easy to read. Almost every conceivable argument in favour of population growth has been challenged and shot down in flames.

I will address the subject of privatisation in another email.

Please also feel welcome, as an alternative to e-mailing me directly, to post further comments in response to this correspondence to my web site here.

Yours sincerely,

James Sinnamon

Pro-democracy independent candidate
for Mount Coot-tha

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