Cliefden Caves at the NSW election

Tomorrow is the NSW election day. We thought we'd let you know the attitude of the major political parties towards the saving of Cliefden Caves.

The NSW Government (Liberal/National Party Coalition)

The Liberal/National Party support the construction of a dam on the Belubula River. They have named Cranky Rock as their preferred dam site in a recently released scoping study commissioned by their Government. The proposed Cranky Rock dams would inundate the caves. Needles Gap Dam has also not been ruled out. The NSW Environment Minister said last week he would not support any new dam in the state that would have significant environmental impacts.

The NSW Opposition (Labor)

The NSW Opposition is opposed to any dam that would inundate the caves. Labor Leader, Luke Foley, has also made a commitment to protect the Cliefden Caves site with a heritage listing. Labor's policy states:

"A NSW Labor government will:

• Commit to ensuring the Orange community has a secure water supply;

• Explore all other options for water security. New dams are the most expensive and environmentally destructive solution to water security;

• Not support any proposal that will inundate Cliefden Caves, including the Needles gap and Cranky rock proposals; and

• Pursue NSW Heritage listing for the Caves in recognition of their historical and geological significance."

The NSW Greens

The NSW Greens oppose any new dams in NSW and, in particular, oppose any dams that would flood the caves. The NSW Greens have had a consistently strong opposition to the dams and Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham has been a very vocal critic on the issue since it arose.

Our conclusion

The NSW Coalition are the strongest advocates of a dam on the Belubula River and have named Cranky Rock as the preferred site, which would inundate the caves. As a result we believe they have the worst policy on this issue. The only positive is the Environment Minister's comments last week saying he would not give his personal support to any dams that would have significant environmental impacts. We will pursue this point with him if re-elected.

NSW Labor's recent announcement represents strong opposition to any dam that would impact Cliefden Caves. Their commitment to a heritage listing for Cliefden is welcome and represents forward thinking on the issue.

The NSW Greens have had a consistently strong opposition to any dam and have been vocal supporters of the cause.

PS. It's clear we will need to keep the pressure up after the election, please consider a donation so we can continue the fight to save these amazing caves! Thank you for your support.

Save Cliefden Caves

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