Upper House committee to examine Warragamba Dam plan

A NSW Upper House committee will be established to examine the proposal to raise the Warragamba Dam wall.

The committee will examine a range of issues including: conflicting reports on the planning height for the dam wall raising, plans for future property development on flood-prone land on the Hawkesbury Nepean floodplain, and the adequacy of the Environmental Impact Assessment process to date, according to the terms of reference.

The extent of alternative options considered for flood management will also be examined, as well as the engagement between the NSW government and the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in relation to the project.

Warragamba Dam.

Warragamba Dam.

The motion was brought to the Parliament by former Greens MP turned Independent, Justin Field.

"There are very legitimate concerns about the impact this proposal will have on the World Heritage areas, Aboriginal cultural heritage, the Warragamba community and on plans for significant future property development on the flood plain," Mr Field said.

"Recently we've seen concerns raised by the World Heritage Committee and leaks of the draft Environmental Impact Assessment describing significant and permanent impacts on the Blue Mountains National Park. Recently the Aboriginal community rebuked the government's assessment process for failing to consider fully the impact on significant sites in the affected area.

"This proposal has never been fully tested within the communities who will be impacted and the alternative options have never been subject to a public debate. This inquiry will be an opportunity to do that and I'm looking forward to being involved in the inquiry and engaging more directly with affected communities and other stakeholders." Mr Field said.

Give a Dam campaigner Harry Burkitt from the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, welcomed the committee's investigation.

"We welcome a formal parliamentary process that will examine the serious questions marks around developer interests in this dam proposal," he said.