Australian dam proposal rejected

Citing environmental impacts on threatened species, Australian Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett has rejected a proposal to build the Traveston Crossing Dam in southeast Queensland.

“The science is very clear about the adverse impacts this project would have on the nationally protected Australian lungfish, Mary River turtle and Mary River cod,” Garrett said. “The independent expert advice and the advice from my department clearly show the Traveston Dam proposal would lead to serious and irreversible consequences for these species and most likely, would lead to their further decline.”

Garrett’s final rejection follows a preliminary rejection of the proposal on Nov. 10, 2009.

The Queensland state government’s proposal included some 1,200 conditions of approval, which attempted to mitigate the dam’s potential impact on threatened species. However, Garrett said the proposed measures were untested and uncertain.

“A number of these measures couldn’t be tested until the dam was operational and the impacts were already being felt,” he said.

The dam was scheduled for completion by 2017.

“The species’ breeding and their ability to maintain their population numbers would be seriously affected by the flooding of their habitat and by the fragmentation of significant populations,” Garrett said, “and I was not satisfied that adequate measures were proposed to mitigate these impacts.”

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