Daily Archives: November 10, 2007

Saving Mary

SAVE THE MARY RIVER

What are the real costs of the proposed Traveston Crossing dam?

Two information evenings are scheduled to make common cause between the people of Brisbane and the residents of the Mary Valley. Come along and find out the reasons why the proposed Traveston Crossing Dam on the Mary River is not in the best interests of the people of Brisbane or those of the Mary Valley.

SAVING MARY EVENINGS

1. Brisbane Workers Community Centre – 2 LaTrobe Tce, Paddington (enter from Given Tce) Thursday December 6. Meet at 6.30pm for a 7pm start.

2. Ahimsa House – 26 Horan Street West End on

Tuesday December 11. Meet 6.30pm for a 7pm start.

  • Come along and see footage of the scenery and location.
  • Meet affected residents from the Mary Valley.

Find out

  • Why the Traveston Crossing Dam Project on the Mary River will not solve Brisbane’s water shortage.
  • Why the construction of a dam at Traveston Crossing could jeopardize Brisbane’s future food security.
  • Why the long-term financial consequences could be extremely costly to Queensland’s tax-payers
  • How the project would lead to the irreparable damage to an area of outstanding biodiversity value.

Watch a PowerPoint presentation and have the opportunity for discussion.

Find out how you can help. Please tell your friends!!! Gold coin donation entry. Details: Zela 54829831

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Dear friends and sisters of Mary,For some time I have believed that we should resist the kinds of stereotypes which are often bandied about by government and media which portray city people as careless consumers while the people of the Mary Valley as too small-minded to make a sacrifice for the greater good. Both rural and urban dwellers must act together to save the Mary Valley, because the sad fact is that any sacrifice made by the people of the Mary Valley would not be for the greater good, as is illustrated by the following considerations.

1. Food security is looming large for Queensland at the moment, with a string of news items concerned with reduced grain forecasts, Murray-Darling irrigators received little or no water and drought claiming vegetable production in the Lockyer Valley appearing in the press. It seems short-sighted in the extreme for the State government to be inundating close to 9000 hectares of good quality agricultural land just 2 hours north of Brisbane..

2. The University of Sydney’s report into water options for South East Queensland, commissioned by a council of 10 mayors from affected shires, found that the water needs could be supplied by an array of options, including recycling, demand management strategies, waste reduction etc. Productive farmland cannot be produced by other measures.

3. Financial costs are spiraling.

The most useful description of cost is one that takes into account capital and running costs, and equates them to the amount of water produced. The most detailed study to do this is Stuart White’s study, which costs Mary Valley water from the Traveston Crossing proposal at more than $3 per kilolitre delivered to Brisbane. This is very expensive water. Desalinated water costed in the same way comes out to less than $2.50 per kilolitre.

4. The amounts of money being spent on the Murray-Darling River System in the last decade are staggering. Malcolm Turnbull has been throwing around figures of another $10 billion. And still we hear that farmers are being allowed only a small fraction of their former water quota. This tells us that damage done to catchments is not just costly to repair, but may be impossible. The cost of building Traveston with all its technical problems, would impoverish us: the cost of undoing it may ruin us. And the downstream loss of production and likely salinisation has not even been factored into the equation. Downstream from Traveston is 200 km more river and 5 more towns whose farmers and citizens depend on the Mary.

5. At the recent 10th International River Symposium, Dr Stuart Blanch displayed a map which revealed that the Mary is the only Queensland river left flowing east to the sea which has not been reduced to a series of stepped lakes by impoundments. And it is no co-incidence that the Sandy Straits are a fisherman’s paradise compared with previous fishing spots which have been destroyed by the damming of the rivers which formerly flowed out, with their stream of nutrients, to the sea. A great deal of tourist income (estimated at $120 million per year), will be lost if Hervey Bay is degraded.

6. The Mary River is the only habitat of two endemic endangered species, the Mary River turtle and Mary River Cod, and also contains the vulnerable lungfish and southern snapping turtle which although also found in the Burnett river have been seriously impacted upon by massive impoundments on that river. According to the precautionary principle of scientific conservation, we cannot risk a possible disaster to this last refuge for the unique wildlife of SE Qld. At some point, the carrying capacity of the country has to be questioned. We can’t allow unchecked population growth in the South East corner then take the water which nourishes this last free river. Another way must be found.

7. The way the people of the Mary Valley have been treated is just plain wrong. The announcement of the Traveston Crossing Dam proposal was done with no consultation, in contradiction to a recently-completed local area water agreement, and with no pre-feasibility or feasibility studies. The great local knowledge of rural-dwellers with up to 3 generations of occupation was disregarded. Two indigenous groups have been intimidated into signing Land Use Agreements, (one person reported being told that if he did not sign, his group would be excluded from further inclusion in negotiations) with a third group still refusing to sign. The Butchulla people, whose country is downstream (Hervey Bay and Fraser Island) have been excluded from negotiations, on the pretext that no part of the construction will be on their land. However the Butchulla country will suffer the most downstream impacts.

8. It is in the interests of all Queenslanders to ensure that the productive fertile and biodiverse Mary Valley is not inundated for a highly questionable water scheme. Let’s learn the lessons of the Murray-Darling and preserve the Mary Valley as a foodbowl, eco-tourism destination and wildlife haven only two hours from Brisbane. If we don’t stand up for the farmers and voiceless creatures of the Mary Valley, we also fail to protect our own best interests.

Zela Bissett Convenor, (Sisters of Mary)

Ph 54829831

Mob 0439 130 537