LABOR SELLS WESTERN SYDNEY DOWN THE RIVER
Written on the 25 October 2018 by Kevin Conolly
NSW Labor last week voted to deny the people of Western Sydney the extra protection from flooding that a raised Warragamba Dam wall will provide.
The Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley can experience much greater variation in flood heights than any other valley in Australia due to its unique topography.
The Liberal-National Government's plan to raise the wall of Warragamba Dam by 14 metres will, in the event of a major flood, protect lives by providing additional evacuation time and protect property by reducing the peak heights of the flood. Water temporarily held back by the higher wall would gradually pass through the flood gates returning the dam to normal over a period of two weeks.
In opposing the project, Labor has falsely claimed that the wall is being raised to allow additional housing development. Yet the North West Growth Centre was planned by Labor, the first precincts were rezoned by Labor, and there have been no submissions made by Labor when recent precincts have gone on exhibition.
So Labor support the houses but without additional protection from floods!
The Labor Party is happy to see development proceed as they planned when they were in government, but oppose the sensible plan to protect the region from flooding.
It has been the current Liberal-Nationals Government which has capped the number of dwellings proposed for land below the Probable Maximum Flood level (PMF) in recently exhibited precincts. It has been the Liberal-Nationals Government which has linked housing numbers to the evacuation capacity of the regional roads.
In opposing a plan which will protect people and property, Labor is ignoring the thousands of people whose homes are below the current "1 in 100" contour because they were built in past times when less was known about the extent of floods.
Labor is also ignoring the huge cost of replacing public infrastructure like roads, bridges, railway lines, electricity substations, sewage treatment plants, community centres, sporting amenities and the like which are unavoidably located in the region.
Labor's hypocrisy could put lives at risk and certainly will put billions of dollars of property both public and private at greater risk than it need be. Labor needs to drop its political posturing and put Western Sydney first by backing the dam raising project.
Author: Kevin Conolly
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