This week's announcement by the Prime Minister of $5.4billion in funding for Hells Gates Dam has shaken up the political landscape in North Queensland, with supporters and opponents coming from all kinds of likely and unlikely places.
This is a proposal that NQCC has taken an interest in over several years (dating back to at least 2016), so we thought we'd share some of the main concerns we have with this project and the PM's promise to fund it.
Our Main Concerns:
- Not enough water: the water required for the proposed dam is not available under the Burdekin Basin Water Plan. If built, the dam will reduce inflows to Burdekin Falls Dam which will reduce the reliability of existing water entitlement holder’s allocations.
- Habitat loss: land clearing associated with building the dam and establishing 50,000 ha of irrigated agriculture will destroy vulnerable and threatened species habitat.
- Threatens the GBR: water quality degradation in the GBR will be exacerbated from increased sediment, nutrient and pesticides loads entering the reef from the 50,000 ha of irrigated agriculture supported by the dam.
- Poor return on investment: the Preliminary Business Case prepared by the proponent shows the dam is only marginally economically viable at best.
- No Business Case or EIS: the Detailed Business Case and EIS for the project have not been finalised, yet the PM has promised to "cut green tape".