Dam Decision Raises Concerns Over Labor’s Commitment to Regional

Member for Cootamundra and Shadow Water Minister Steph Cooke says the NSW Labor Government’s decision to rip up plans to raise the Wyangala Dam wall, is a short-sighted move that demonstrates how clueless the Premier is when it comes to the needs of regional communities.

“The Premier said during the election campaign, that he did not ‘pretend to have any expertise about regional New South Wales’. Well Premier, today you have proven that to be very true,” Ms Cooke said.

“Make no mistake, this project – which would have increased Wyangala’s storage capacity by 53 per cent, or an additional 650GL – was crucial to delivering water security and drought resilience, not to mention flood mitigation benefits for communities right along the Lachlan, from Cowra to Forbes and beyond.

“This is a devastating blow to those communities, who will now be asking just how many floods and droughts will it take for the NSW Labor Government to take this project seriously?

“When you consider the hugely positive impacts that raising the dam wall would have had, today’s announcement is nothing short of reckless from a government that clearly doesn’t know what it’s doing when it comes to regional water issues, and simply doesn’t care about the lives and livelihoods of those who would have benefited from this project going forward.

“By ditching plans to raise the Wyangala Dam wall, the NSW Labor Government has today shown a complete disregard for the wellbeing of communities right along the Lachlan River, many of whom are still getting back on their feet following last year’s flooding, and who now face the prospect of yet another drought.

“The Water Minister says the plan doesn’t stack up financially, but what about the millions of dollars spent on flood and drought recovery, or the millions in lost revenue during dry times? The Minister claims the plan doesn’t make sense from an environmental perspective, but what about the impact on the environment that major flooding events and prolonged droughts have?

“Now that they’ve ripped up this idea, I call on the Premier and the Water Minister to release the unredacted business case, and prove they aren’t completely turning their backs on the communities impacted by this decision, by immediately putting forward alternative plans that specifically address the long-term issues this project was seeking to address,” she said.

MEDIA: Young Electorate Office | 02 6382 2399.

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