Epic kayak journey takes petitions to Garrett

October 11, 2008

Carrying the views of thousands of people who oppose the construction of a dam on Queensland's Mary River, Steve Posselt will kayak from Brisbane to the Sydney office of federal environment minister Peter Garrett to deliver their petitions.

Posselt, a 55-year-old civil engineer who paddled and dragged his kayak from Brisbane to Adelaide in 2007 to highlight the parlous state of the Murray-Darling river system, left Brisbane on October 4 to paddle down the coast to Sydney.

The Queensland lungfish is unique to the Mary and Burnett rivers in Queensland. The section of the Mary River to be dammed is the only natural lungfish habitat remaining. "Traveston Crossing dam will destroy its habitat. This creature is much older than the dinosaurs and it's only found in Queensland", Posselt explained.

Legal action against the operators of a newly constructed dam on the Burnett River, on the grounds of failure to protect endangered species, was initiated on October 7 by the Australian Conservation Foundation and several state and local environment groups.

A Labor member of the Queensland parliament, Ronan Lee, has also resigned from the ALP and joined the Greens to protest against the failure of the state government to abandon its plans for the dam.

Local groups say that the water from the dam will not be needed for another 25 years. The Queensland government will bring its recycled water scheme and the state's first desalination plant on line early next year. Independent studies reveal that the dam and pumps will emit 400,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases annually.

Posselt will continue to collect signatures on his petition as he passes through local communities, from the Gold Coast to Gosford. He plans to arrive at the Sydney Opera House on November 1.

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