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Pulp mill decision is litmus test for Traveston Dam

Media Release - 4 Oct 2007
Larissa Waters, bAustralian Greens Lead Senate Candidate for Queensland

The decision to approve Gunns’ pulp mill in Tasmania's Tamar Valley with conditions is an indication of the likely federal response to the Traveston Dam, with both decisions failing to protect the environment, said the Greens today.

“Today’s pulp mill decision is yet another approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act for a proposal which will damage the environment,” said environmental lawyer and Greens Senate candidate for Queensland, Larissa Waters.

“In the seven years of the EPBC Act, there have been only three projects refused.

“It now seems likely that the Minister will approve the Traveston Dam by imposing conditions, such as a fishway which is meant to enable lungfish to travel through impoundments via a ladder system.

“Such a condition was imposed on the approval for Paradise Dam on the Burnett River, but it has not helped lungfish.

“A leaked report from the Queensland Government found that lungfish weren’t using the fishways effectively, and that the dam had irreparably destroyed lungfish breeding habitat.

“Any approval of Traveston Dam based on reliance on a condition which left the survival of this oldest fish in its last remaining habitat up to a device which has been found not to work, would make a mockery of the laws designed to protect threatened species.

“The federal government’s approach to approving almost everything by imposing conditions which require further reports or studies is like shooting first and asking questions later.

“To be effective, conditions must be certain, they must be complied with, and they must be enforced. Unfortunately the Department’s enforcement record and monitoring budget are both miniscule.

“I have been involved in several successful Court cases acting for environment groups suing the Minister for wrongly interpreting the Act.
“The Minister should prepare himself for a Court challenge if he approves Traveston Dam,” concluded Ms Waters.

For more information:

Larissa Waters
Australian Greens Lead Senate Candidate for Queensland

0421 844 280

larissa.water|AT|qld.greens.org.au

Comments

“The federal government’s approach to approving almost everything by imposing conditions which require further reports or studies is like shooting first and asking questions later.

I hadn't thought of it like that.
I think Larissa Waters is quite clever and, amazingly for a Green, she actually seems a little concerned about wrecking habitat and population growth.

I hope she wins.

Good on Larissa! Death to her foes!