Garrett saves the turtle, Qld switches to plan B

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said land would be set aside for construction of the new desalination plants by 2017-18 at Lytton, near Brisbane port, and Marcoola, on the Sunshine Coast.“A dam at Traveston Crossing was the cheapest and most reliable way of properly planning for a growing population, for future drought and for climate change,” Bligh said.“The alternative to this dam is at least two more desalination plants around the size of Tugun [Gold Coast].”“That will mean significantly higher economic and environmental costs.”Garrett said building the dam would have flooded critical habitats of threatened species such as the Australian lungfish, the Mary River turtle, and the Mary River cod.”As Environment Minister, my responsibility is to ensure that nationally listed species are protected, and I believe no conditions or mitigation measures that would adequately guarantee their protection could be imposed on this project,” he said. “Several of the measures put forward in the proposal lacked scientific evidence as to their effectiveness.”Bligh said she was mystified by the decision and said it was hard to see how any large-scale dam project would ever be approved.”It is a mystery to me how the federal minister can approve a pulp mill in Tasmania for commercial profit and not approve a dam for the water needs of 2.5 million south-east Queenslanders,” she told journalists.”[The proposed dam] was on land that had been cleared for more than a century. There is no pristine rainforest.“This is not the Daintree or the Franklin Gordon. This is land that was cleared for farming more than 100 years ago. “If you can’t approve a dam here, it makes it difficult, I think, to see how any state government will ever be able to provide a dam in the future.”

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