Dam impact on UNESCO area differs from leaked report
The report released on Wednesday said the project would not jeopardize the region’s World Heritage list, and a full range of flood events were modeled to determine the likely flood level, with peak levels for 20-year indices used to determine probable upstream flooding.
The report states that had the dam wall been raised as proposed, the water from the March floods would have peaked 3.6 meters lower in Windsor and about 5 meters in Penrith, two of the areas of the Hawkesbury-Nepean built valley where the project is hoped to benefit.
The developer’s leading body, the Property Council of Australia, said that once approved, the infrastructure project should be treated as a top priority, joining the Urban Development Institute of Australia, another lobby group, to call for interrupted developments in the Northwest Growth Zone to be revisited.
The proposal was rocked by controversy, with New South Wales Vice President John Barilaro saying earlier this year that he was not convinced of its merits, with the Insurance Council of Australia dropping support in due to fears for hundreds of Aboriginal sites and an archaeologist stating he had been hired. as a publicity stunt to seduce the traditional owners.
The report found that up to 92 endangered plant and animal species “could potentially be affected,” although surveys have been undertaken for threatened flora at just seven locations in the Lake Burragorang region, the report noting that efforts to The survey of flora and fauna were “below those required by the guidelines”.
The Regent Honeyeater and the Critically Endangered Swift Parrot are species of birds that are said to be at greater risk, with conservation group Birdlife Australia saying hundreds of hectares of breeding habitat for Regent Honeyeater are said to be affected.
“Even these results potentially underestimate the impact given that the endangered species surveys used in their determination were conducted before the devastating bushfires of 2020,” said Samantha Vine, the group’s conservation manager.
New South Wales Minister for West Sydney Stuart Ayres, who is overseeing the proposal, said the upstream impacts of the project “must be carefully measured against the social, economic and environmental impacts that flooding may have on communities downstream of western Sydney ”.
NSW MLC independent Justin Field, who is chairing a parliamentary inquiry into the proposal, called the report “wholly inadequate,” saying the voluminous study took several years but was only open to community exposure for 45 years. days.
He said the community was still concerned that the proposal was “more aimed at opening up parts of the floodplain for further development”, but Mr Ayres has repeatedly refuted that this would result in more land available for the development.
Opposition spokeswoman for planning, environment and heritage Penny Sharpe said Labor members of the upper house inquiry into the project would use the committee to fully question the EIS.
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