Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Greens call on Rees to 'dump the dam'

Newcastle Greens
10 September 2008

The Newcastle Greens today responded to the new Premier's apparent $1 billion hole in the state's finances with a call to dump the proposed $350 million Tillegra Dam.

The Greens Newcastle Lord Mayoral and Ward 1 candidate, Cr Michael Osborne, said "the proposed Tillegra Dam is not needed, will devastate the Williams River catchment and will cause a large increase in the bills of Newcastle residents."

"If the new Premier is looking to cut wasteful spending then he need look no further than the proposed Tillegra Dam.

"The proposed Dam was announced by the former Premier Iemma in the lead up to the 2007 State election, amid the Orkopolous scandal.

"The proposed Dam was not mentioned in the State Government's much-heralded State Plan, was not in Hunter Water's submission to the independent pricing regulator (the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal) before the announcement and was described in Hunter Water's own 2004 integrated water resource plan as being 'far less cost effective than many demand management and water conservation initiatives'.

"Total costs for the proposed dam could easily blow out from the currently projected cost to $600 million or $1 billion, which would pass through to households in the lower Hunter as increases of up to $416 a year in household bills.

"The new Premier can show leadership by saving the Williams River and its vibrant farming community, its platypus population and its ability to produce food.

"It is not too late to abandon the proposed Tillegra Dam, to improve the state finances and protect lower Hunter households from massive increases in their water bills," Councillor Osborne said.

Newcastle City Council resolved on 26 August 2008 to call for Hunter Water to outline to the community the full cost to Newcastle residents from the proposed Tillegra Dam, including the impost on new housing development and for Hunter Water to place together on public exhibition the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal pricing determination and the Environmental Assessment Report so that the community can comment on, not only the environmental impacts from the proposed dam, but the social and economic impacts for Newcastle residents.

For further information or comment, contact Michael Osborne on 0439 442 984.

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