An enthusiastic audience of 60 attended a public meeting on July 23 to hear the environmental, social and economic case for opposing the Queensland government's decision to construct a dam on the Mary River.
If construction proceeds, the dam will cost $1.5 billion, flood 7600 hectares of prime agricultural land and displace more than 500 residents. It will also jeopardise the survival of endangered species including the Mary River cod, the Queensland lungfish and the Mary River turtle. The proposed plan is to pipe water from the dam more than 100km to augment Brisbane's water supply.
Speakers included International Water Centre CEO Mark Pascoe; state MP for Gympie David Gibson; environmental and agricultural scientist Steve Burgess; and environmental scientist Glenda Pickersgill. The keynote speaker was civil engineer Steve Posselt, who paddled and dragged his kayak for 3250 kilometres from Brisbane to Adelaide, then for 850 kilometres up the Brisbane River, over the Conondale Ranges and down the Mary River.
Posselt's visual presentation showed how the river ecosystems are failing due to many years of government policy neglect. He said that family upheaval, broken lives and community disruption had already occurred, and that far better means of supplying water for Brisbane must be explored.
Posselt asked everyone to inform themselves about the issues at http://www.savethemaryriver.com and to join the letter writing campaign promoted on that website. The meeting agreed to form a Brisbane branch of the Save The Mary River Coordinating Group.