The Australian Government must urgently intervene to protect the Blue Mountains National Park, after the UNESCO World Heritage Committee warned that the NSW Government’s plan to raise the wall of the Warragamba Dam is incompatible with the area’s World Heritage Status, said NSW Greens MP and environment spokesperson Cate Faehrmann.
The Committee responsible for UNESCO's world heritage list has ordered the Australian Government to submit the proposal's environmental impact assessment to the World Heritage Centre "for review" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature "prior to taking any final decision regarding the project".
“With the world watching, the NSW Government is on notice that it cannot get away with sacrificing one of the most pristine natural environments left on earth to satisfy the insatiable developer lobby,” said Ms Faehrmann.
“Raising the dam wall would flood 4,700 hectares of the World Heritage‑listed Blue Mountains National Park and some 65 kilometres of pristine streams above the current full storage level of the dam.”
“The key purpose of raising of the height of the dam is to mitigate the risk of flooding in Western Sydney, primarily to facilitate the massive overdevelopment of flood-prone areas in Penrith, Londonderry, Riverstone and Windsor.
“The Australian Government has legal obligations to protect and conserve the World Heritage values of the Blue Mountains under the World Heritage Convention, and to take the appropriate measures necessary to prevent this level of environmental destruction.
“This area is renowned for its biodiversity and especially for the exceptional diversity of habitats for Australian fauna in a single place. The loss of habitat caused by flooding would threaten the survival of 48 endangered plant and animal species, at a time when we are already experiencing an unprecedented extinction crisis.
“Rather than destroying the ecological and cultural integrity of the Blue Mountains wilderness, we should leave the Warragamba Dam wall at its current height, and instead lower the full supply level of the dam in order to provide the extra capacity required for flood events.
“Now even the United Nations agrees that NSW cannot be allowed to destroy a world heritage site and risk the extinction of native species simply to try and squeeze 100,000 new residents onto Western Sydney’s floodplains. The federal government must step in now,” said Ms Faehrmann.
Contact: Jacob Miller, 0428 837 292