Massive Cost Blowout for Controversial Wyangala Dam Expansion Documents Reveal
Government documents released as a result of a Greens motion passed by the NSW Upper House have revealed that a controversial commitment by the National Party at the last election to raise the wall of Wyangala Dam could cost taxpayers more than $2 billion.
Today’s exclusive story in the Sydney Morning Herald here.
The dam, which is just one of a suite of new dam infrastructure projects promised by the National Party at the last election, was originally projected to be $650 million. The Water Minister Melinda Pavey, as well as senior Water NSW officials, have repeatedly refused to answer questions put to them at a NSW Upper House Inquiry into the new dam projects about the predicted cost of raising the Wyangala Dam wall.
“Despite Water NSW’s best efforts to justify this very expensive brain fart by the Nationals at the last election, it’s clear they’ve not been able to make it stack up environmentally, socially or economically,” said Cate Faehrmann, Greens MP and spokesperson for Water.
“Contrary to the Water Minister’s assertions, raising the Wyangala Dam wall has never been identified anywhere as the best option for water security in the region.
“Given that water insecurity is only going to increase in the region as a result of climate change, it’s disgraceful that the National Party made this decision not in the public interest, but in their own.
“The Water Minister needs to explain why she is prepared to throw $2 billion of taxpayers money at an unviable mega-dam at the expense of many other water security measures for the region.
“This project must be halted while all other options in the Lachlan Regional Water Strategy are considered.
“The Government must ensure that any business case includes the environmental and social costs of the project’s downstream impacts, including on the Lower Lachlan floodplains and wetlands, because it will be devastating.
“One of the craziest things about this project is that it’s being rushed through at a time when the draft Lachlan Regional Water Strategy is being finalised with 48 options for water management in the region.
“Far more sensible and sustainable options including managed aquifer recharge, water recycling for towns and greater irrigation efficiency measures are all at risk if the Water Minister continues to pursue her pet project at the expense of all others,” said Ms Faehrmann.
Contact: Jacob Miller - 0428 837 292 or Ben Cronly - 0487 247 960