Anti-Traveston dam protesters await the arrival of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at Hervey Bay Hospital on Tuesday.
Anti-Traveston dam protesters await the arrival of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at Hervey Bay Hospital on Tuesday.

Dam protesters sweat on science

POLITICS will not play a part in making the final decision on the controversial Traveston Dam, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says.

Instead the decision will be made on environmental grounds.

The $1.8 billion project was approved last month by Queensland’s co-ordinator-general, subject to 1200 conditions.

The fate of the proposed dam is now in the hands of federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett, who can ask for an extension of the November 18 deadline to make his decision if needed. Mr Rudd said Mr Garrett had the final say in whether to give the dam the go-ahead or to veto it.

Mr Rudd said he realised the dam was a sensitive issue on the Fraser Coast region but politics would not play a role in the final decision.

Peter Garrett is a minister of great integrity,” Mr Rudd said.

“I’m sure he’ll make that decision on its merits.”

Save the Mary River spokeswoman Glenda Pickersgill said Mr Rudd’s comments were encouraging.

“Based on science, Traveston Dam doesn’t stack up and we certainly hope Mr Garrett will be looking at all the scientific facts,” Ms Pickersgill said.

“The reports from the independent experts Mr Garrett has requested information from show there are significant flaws in the Queensland government’s environmental impact statement.”

Mr Rudd would not comment on what he thought the final decision should be.

“It’s not for me or for anyone else to reflect the political view as to what that should be,” he said.

“Under the law of Australia, it’s important for (Mr Garrett), it’s essential for him to make an unfettered, independent environmental choice. That’s what’s required under the statutes of Australia, and that’s what will occur.”

Read more about Traveston Dam.

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