Thursday, 14 July 2016

The water raiders have turned their eyes once more to the Clarence River system

Bumper sticker from the successful 2007 community campaign

The Abbott-Turnbull Government’s ‘100 dams’ plan lives on into 2016.

He said….

The Area News, 11 July 2016:

A Griffith group’s push to send an extra 1000 gigalitres of water down the Darling River is gaining momentum with Bourke Shire Council jumping on board.
The Clarence River Diversion, originally mooted in the early 1980’s by engineer David Coffey and buried by the Hawke government, was resurrected by Griffith councillor Dino Zappacosta and the Build More Dams committee. Cr Zappacosta said he was pleased Bourke council was supporting their campaign for state and federal governments to carry out a feasibility study.
“Bourke Shire Council is fully supportive of the plan,” he said.
“They actually said many years ago they tried to get water from there.”
The scheme, if it went ahead, would see a number of dams built high in the Clarence River catchment, west of Grafton. From there, collected rainwater would run through the Great Dividing Range in an 80-kilometre tunnel and flow into the Dumaresq River before eventually finding its way into the Darling River.

She said….

Email sent to North Coast Voices by Debrah Novak of Yamba, 13 July 2016:

I AM WANTING to point out to Griffith councillor Dino Zappacosta, the Build More Dams committee and Bourke Shire Council if you think you can bulldoze your way into the Clarence Valley and take 1000 gigalitres of water for the Murray-Darling River system you have definitely got a big fight on your hands.

The plan you are resurrecting is over 30 years old however the fact you have had no community consultation with the people of the Clarence and the fact you think you have a right to access our water is downright gob smacking, plain rude and who the hell do you think you are?

Our Clarence River is one of the last remaining wild rivers in NSW and hell will freeze over before our community will let you have one single drop. 

If you divert the Clarence River westward you will not only destroy our regions three greatest economic drivers, fishing, tourism and agriculture you will severely impact the replenishing of the Tweed, Gold Coast and Frazer Coast beaches. You take us on you take them on too.

Earlier this year I invited world acclaimed Australian geologist Dr John Jackson up to the Clarence River Gorge to explain to me how if the Clarence River were dammed or diverted, how it would impact on the lower reaches of our region.

He said " wetlands and fish habitat needed for the very foundation of our entire professional and recreational fishing industry would be destroyed. 

It has taken millions of years for the Clarence River to course its way through the mountains and valleys and then wind its way down to Yamba and then out into the Pacific Ocean. Currents then take all this sand north and in the process has created Fraser and Moreton Bay Islands and the beaches of the Tweed and Gold Coast".

Yes the Clarence River floods almost biannually and thank God it does because during that process it scours out all the chemicals that have built up over time from local industrial and agricultural businesses.

And finally do you think the five Aboriginal Nations for which the Clarence River is their life blood would allow you to divert their water west, sorry but you are dreaming.

The Murray Darling Basin is broken because of greed, a sense of entitlement and the inability for your community to take responsibility for compromising Mother Nature.

We value what we have here in the Clarence River and Valley and I guarantee the 53,000 of us who call this place home would stand shoulder to shoulder to protect her.

A little bit of history....

Excerpt from a North Coast Voices post, 19 October 2010:

Commonwealth Hansard:

Page Electorate: Clarence River 

Ms SAFFIN (Page) (10.57 am)—I have a message on behalf of my community in Page that I want to give to the parliament and everybody who is going to be involved in the Murray-Darling Basin plan and debate. The message from my community, which is home to the Clarence River—and a lot of people seem to be talking about wanting to get their hands on it and are looking at it for diversion—is this: not a drop. Right across my electorate thousands of cars have that on their bumper stickers: not a drop. In effect it is saying hands off the Clarence River.
The idea that the Clarence River can be diverted is one of those issues that have been around for quite some time.
Everybody has raised this issue at different times. In particular, there was some engineering plan that it could be done. My message to the two Tonys is: not one drop will be taken out of the Clarence River. I have also been told, and I do not want to verbal the honourable member for Kennedy, that on the member’s website he talks about those not in favour of looking at some sort of diversion as being political pygmies. While I am not going to comment about my size and whether that is correct, I would say to the honourable member that the people in the Clarence Valley and in Page are certainly not political pygmies. The catchment area of the Clarence River falls within 100 kilometres of the New South Wales coastal strip. Our industries are fishing—we have a huge commercial fishing industry—and agriculture, and the economy is heavily underpinned by that commercial fishing. There is also forestry and tourism. It is all worth a lot to us. This debate is one of those debates that come up every now and then. Engineering wise, we can do anything—we can do marvels—but in terms of the environment and also the viability of the Clarence it would be a disaster. They can look all they like but—
The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. Peter Slipper)—Order! In accordance with standing order 193, the time for members’ constituency statements has expired.

A Clarence Valley Protest, 25 November 2007:

Clarence River now safe from water raiders 

The Howard Government was soundly defeated at the Australian federal election last night, with outgoing Prime Minister John Howard tipped to be ousted by Labor in the seat he has held since first entering parliament.
The Nationals look like going into Opposition, along with their coalition partner the Liberal Party, with a reduced number of regional and rural seats.
The NSW Northern Rivers now has two of its three elected federal representatives drawn from the Australian Labor Party which gave a firm commitment earlier this year not to dam and divert waters from the Clarence River catchment area.

To see how the local political battle played out go to North Coast Voices:

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