Blue Mountains Mayor says state government is going ‘rogue’ to justify Warragamba Dam wall raising

Blue Mountains Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, has slammed the state government for reports that it’s considering changing the boundaries of the Blue Mountains National Park in order to raise the Warragamba Dam wall.

“What we have here is a state government that is going rogue,” Mayor Greenhill said. “If this project was okay under state, federal and international environmental legislation and governance, then an extreme measure like a boundary shift would not be necessary.

“This is just a state government desperate to populate a flood plain – in order to meet satisfy developer mates and reach ridiculous housing targets.

“If this proceeds, have no doubt, it will devastate significant Aboriginal cultural heritage, bring a number of endangered species to the brink of destruction and put at risk the Blue Mountains World Heritage listing.”

In the WaterNSW ‘Preferred Infrastructure Report’ about the ‘Warragamba Dam Raising’ it states that the government is not required to comply with World Heritage Committee decision under the relevant state and federal environmental protection acts.

The report states: “It is noted that the World Heritage Operational Guidelines (Part III. I) provide for modifications to the boundaries of World Heritage properties,” as a method of avoiding “adverse heritage impacts”.

International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) President Professor Tracy Ireland has previously stated that the Dam Proposal is inconsistent with Australia’s obligations under the World Heritage Convention with respect to the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area (GBMWHA) and neither the Dam Proposal itself, nor the EIS comply with specific Decisions of the World Heritage Committee.

“The report from ICOMOS is scathing,” Mayor Greenhill said.

“Even some of the state government’s own departments have declared the Environmental Impact Study for this proposal as inadequate, underestimating the impacts of the project.”

Dean Knudson, the Deputy Secretary of Biodiversity, Conservation and Science at Environment, Energy and Science NSW DPIE stated the environmental effects statement for the project did not consider the impacts on the natural and cultural values of the national parks estate and Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area adequately.

“Notably, the EIS makes incorrect assumptions about how to determine World Heritage values, and therefore how to evaluate impacts on those values.”

The Blue Mountains were added to the World Heritage list on November 29, 2000.

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