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Dam all the consultation

  • 28 June 2006

On 26 April 2006 the Queensland Government announced that two dams would be built in South East Queensland; one on the Logan River, and the other on the Mary River at Traveston, near Gympie. The announcement regarding these two dams was made with little consultation or study. In the 1990s, the same location on the Mary River, Traveston, had been surveyed as the possible site for a dam, but the area was deemed unsuitable. The land at Amamoor, ten kilometres from the proposed dam site, has been set aside for a water storage facility, but this option is not being explored by the Queensland Government.

If the dam is built, the effect on people, townships, ecology and the indigenous heritage of the Mary Valley area will be nothing short of catastrophic. The Mary Valley is an excellent dairy farming area. There are also many orchards, and a small wine industry. The Mary Valley offers a very quiet alternative to Brisbane and the Sunshine coast.

The Government has proposed to resume 820 properties for the dam which will have a 150,000 megalitre storage capacity. Approximately 1000 people will be directly affected by the construction of the dam. These people will lose homes, agricultural land, sections of their property, and in some cases, their livelihood. The township of Kandanga, which is about 30 kms from Gympie, will be affected the most drastically. Approximately two hundred people live in Kandanga; the dam will result in half of the township being flooded, with the rest of the area being left within the two hundred metre buffer zone. This renders the entire area unliveable.

The faith life of the Mary Valley will also be seriously affected. The Kandanga cemetery will be flooded, as will an indigenous Bora ring of the Gubbi-Gubbi clan. With a reduction in the number of people in the Mary Valley due to the dam, the religious communities of the Catholic, Anglican and Uniting churches of Kandanga and Imbil will be impacted severely, both in population and in religious services.

The dam will also cut the Bruce Highway, south of Gympie, for about five or six kilometres, cut roads in the Mary Valley, and render telecommunications systems unuseable. Another expense that will arise from this already costly project is a major increase in infrastructure spending to divert Bruce Highway and other access roads to the Mary Valley. More people will lose property