Warragamba Dam wall-raising forum draws interest

Warragamba Dam wall-raising forum draws interest

The proposed raising of the Warragamba Dam wall is one of the biggest issues facing Macarthur voters this election.

That’s the view of Wollondilly Labor candidate Jo-Ann Davidson, who last week held a forum on the controversial proposal.

About 40 people attended the meeting with Ms Davidson and Opposition Spokesman for Water Chris Minns at Warragamba Workers Club on Friday.

She said the event “went really well” and people asked lots of questions.

“I think there is a lot of misinformation out there about what this wall-raising proposal means,” Ms Davidson said.

“For instance, people believe this is about conservation of water, which it is not.

“There is also a perception that raising the wall would reduce insurance premiums for people living in the flood plain, but there has been no confirmation from insurers that that is the case.”

The state government has been pursuing the wall-raising idea since 2016, when then-Premier Mike Baird suggested it as a way to mitigate flood risks in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley, with the aim of protecting townships downstream.

Minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said “the main thing we are trying to protect is people’s lives and properties that were already in the flood plain before development controls were put in place to restrict where properties can be developed”.

However, Ms Davidson said there were alternatives to relieve this issue that could be explored – alternatives which would not threaten culturally sensitive Indigenous sites int he Blue Mountains National Park.

She said UNESCO would consider removing the world heritage listing of the national park if the wall-raising were to go ahead.

Ms Davidson encouraged all Macarthur residents to educate themselves on the proposal and each political party’s stance on the issue in the lead-up to the March 2019 state election.

“If you’re opposed to raising the dam wall, vote Labor,” she said.

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