Tully hydro project unnecessary

Tully hydro project unnecessary

By Bill Mason

BRISBANE — The proposed Tully-Millstream hydro-electric project in north Queensland could be postponed if electricity demand were reduced, a consultant has told the federal government.

The project has previously been criticised as posing a significant threat to a number of rare animal and plant species in World Heritage-listed wet tropical areas.

Consultant Dr Hugh Saddler, of the Canberra company Energy Policy and Analysis, said reducing demand would require a fundamental change of attitude and activities by the Queensland Electricity Commission and most of the state's power industry.

Saddler's comments came from draft notes on the state government-initiated Tully-Millstream task force report handed down last year.

In another report to the federal government, obtained by the Brisbane Courier-Mail, the Australian Heritage Commission said that Queensland had about 40% excess generating capacity throughout the 1980s and there was evidence to suggest that alternative power sources existed.

The report found that the QEC had "consistently and grossly over-estimated the rate of growth in electricity use".

The heritage commission concluded that "there are several alternatives" to the scheme.