Opponents of the proposed Traveston Crossing Dam on the Mary River, inland from the Sunshine Coast, are preparing for a mass protest march to the Queensland ALP state conference on June 21.
The bulk of public submissions on the dam project, lodged with the state government in January, were strongly against the proposal. Despite this, the state government is determined to push ahead with the controversial plan, which it claims is necessary to provide water to the city of Brisbane.
Opponents of the dam say that options other than damming the Mary River are more ecologically sound and cheaper. Moreover, local residents claim that the proposed dam threatens 18 vulnerable and endangered species, including reptiles, fish, mammals, birds and plants.
According to Associate Professor Jenny Stewart of the University of Canberra, writing on On Line Opinion on May 8, "Three iconic species live in the river — the Mary River turtle, the Mary River cod, and the Queensland lungfish. The turtle and the cod are both considered to be endangered; the lungfish, while not endangered, is considered by experts to be vulnerable. In addition, there are many other significant species in the catchment, as well as in the internationally recognised wetlands of the Great Sandy Strait, where the Mary meets the sea".
Stewart notes that measures proposed by the government to limit the impact of the dam on these species are controversial, and may still further endanger their survival. "Environmental issues aside, there is considerable doubt as to whether the dam represents the most cost-effective stategy to meet the needs of the projected population of Brisbane", she writes.
The protest against the dam will commence from the Cascade Gardens, Broadbeach, at 11am, and proceed to the Gold Coast Convention Centre. For more information on the campaign, visit http://www.savethemaryriver.com.