MEDIA RELEASE: Belubula River Alliance - Questions to Candidates


“Concerned environmental groups, under the banner of the Belubula River Alliance, are calling on federal election candidates in Calare and Hume to respond to questions regarding a new dam on the Belubula River.”

“The groups include the Inland Rivers Network, Save Cliefden Caves Association, Orange Speleological Society, Environmentally Concerned Citizens of Orange and the Australian Speleological Federation.”

“It is essential that voters know the positions of candidates on the regional and national issue of protecting the Belubula River Valley and Cliefden Caves.”

“Scientific research happening at Cliefden continues to demonstrate the unique value of the area, with recent results indicating a large presence of bats inhabiting the caves.”

“The extent of downstream impacts is also a key concern, with the Belubula River forming part of the Lachlan River system, providing a vital water source for downstream irrigators and wetlands.”

Candidate's responses to the below questions will be publicised as soon as they are received.

1. What is your position on the proposed new dam on the Belubula River?

2. Are you concerned about the environmental and social condition of the Lachlan
River system?

3. Do you believe a new dam on the river will affect the Lachlan River system? If so,
will you oppose its construction?

4. If a dam is built, who do you believe should benefit and who should pay for its
construction and maintenance?

5. Are you concerned about the potential impacts of a new dam on the Cliefden Caves
and surrounding environments?

Media contact: Harry Burkitt 0490 010 909

(Photo: Oxana Repina)

Calare Candidate Responses

Anthony CRAIG - Independant

1. This stage neutral on question one. I would need to get more information on alternatives before saying Yes or not. I do not know enough about the environmental impact and what are the alternatives to water secuirty is for local communities affected by drought.

2. Yes very concerned about all rivers and the impact on any issues affecting water ways. A big fan of water recycling .

3. I refer to question one. Do not have enough information to make an informed decision

4. If the dam did go ahead it should be government build and kept in government hands for community use. Not sold to foreign multi nationals or profit driven companies

5. Do not have any information on this to make an informed decision

Glen Davis - Liberal Democratic Party

"generally speaking unless there would be major environmental damage if this was to be constructed I would not be opposed to the construction of this dam."

Delanie SKY - Greens

1. I am strongly opposed to the construction of any new dam on the Belubula River. The Greens stand with the Belubula River Alliance and congratulate them for getting this important issue into the public domain to save this vitally important cave and river system.
2. Yes, the dam would pull large volumes of water out of the already stressed Lachlan River system. This affects the downstream communities’ access to water for town supply, agriculture, tourism and industry.
3. Yes, a new dam on the river will affect the Lachlan River System and I strongly oppose the construction of any dam. Dam building is identified as a key threatening process in NSW, to the environment and therefore to downstream users. In an increasingly climate changed world, we need to be smarter in how we protect not only our water and the downstream economies that rely on it, but also our irreplaceable precious places like the Cliefden Caves Geoheritage site.
4. I do not believe the construction of the dam should go ahead. This sounds like an expensive political thought bubble. The Nationals have obviously not even read their own report that states the most economically efficient solution is an upgrade of Wyangala Dam, not a new dam elsewhere. Given the complex geology of the area the construction of a dam on the Belubula River would be at a crippling cost to taxpayers as additional hydrological engineering would be required to keep it from leaking like a sieve. The Nationals would do well to take a basic lesson in geology. The mere proposition of keeping water dammed up in a Kaarst landscape is like trying to hold water in a colander.
5. Yes, I am extremely concerned about the potential impacts on the surrounding environment and its hydrology. Cliefden caves is a Geoheritage site and is of international scientific importance in terms of the planet’s fossil record, hydrothermal springs and the limestone caves not to mention the bat species living there which are already threatened with extinction

Hume Candidate Responses

Michaela SHERWOOD - Greens

I oppose any form of environmental modification to river systems unless there is a compelling need without any feasible alternative.  As I understand it, the “need” in your region is “water security”, which I’m sure can be achieved through many other approaches, such as better efficiency of use and improved on-farm storage and retention of rainwater.

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