Last year in an assessment of the project plans for the Gin Gin dam (Macquarie River re-regulating storage project) the Deputy Secretary of DPIE Water Jim Bentley said the project plans had significant deficiencies, and did not meet the requirements to demonstrate value for money and prudent use of public funds.
The Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund project proposal spelt out the reason for the dam –
“The largest agricultural use of water in the valley is for irrigated cotton production downstream of Dubbo. This industry is underpinned by water and many of these users hold general security water licences. The investigation of a re-regulating weir will help determine whether the infrastructure will improve the reliability of water for these users in the context of a more variable future climate.”
The State significant infrastructure development application for the proposal MUST be cancelled, as the proposal is only for the benefit of the cotton industry.
The expected capital cost of the proposal was also divulged in a release of documents through the NSW Parliament – a massive $84 million before the inevitable cost blow outs.
That is an enormous amount of money to be spent subsidising a privileged industry that is about to be gifted hundreds of millions of dollars of brand new compensable mortgagable property rights as floodplain harvesting licences.
With over 62,000 megalitres of floodplain water licences about to be gifted, why should the public pay an additional $84 million for a destructive project that would offer irrigated cotton another 14,500 megalitres a year? When is enough enough?
Community calls for the business case to be released in it’s current form continue:
- Will the impact on irrigation in the unregulated Macquarie River downstream of Marbone weir be assessed?
- What about the huge knock to the recreational fishing industry?
- The Macquarie Marshes will be devastated
- There will be fewer kayakers coming to the valley
- The best camping spot on the Mid-Macquarie will be destroyed
- There will be less water in the Warren weir
This proposal was dubbed an ineffective use of public funds in February last year, and funding for the business case was delayed by 8 months because of the plan’s significant deficiencies. Once a dud, always a dud – time to dump the Gin Gin dam plan.
NSW Treasury and the Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund tend to agree. Treasury withheld funding for the business case, and the Snowy Hydro Legacy fund flatly refused a request to fund the Environmental Impact Statement.
Documents seen by HRD state that the estimated $84 million capital expense will not be coming from the Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund, as earlier anticipated. No-one wants to pay for this enormous dud.
Read our supplementary submission to the Upper House Inquiry into the rationale for, and impacts of, new dams and other water infrastructure in NSW here.
Our original submission went into detail about:
- Macquarie River re-regulating storage project
- Raising of Wyangala dam wall
- Mole River dam
- Dungowan Creek dam
- Western Weirs project