Clarence dam speculations squashed

CLAIMS a Coalition government would return to a controversial, short-lived proposal to dam the Clarence River and pipe the water north toLogan in Queensland have been flatly rejected by Nationals Leader Warren Truss.

The denial follows a claim by Page MP Janelle Saffin that a plan, announced at the weekend by Liberal Leader Tony Abbott, for the Coalition to return to the water policy it had before the 2007 election meant the dam plan was back on the table.

During the Liberal Party's campaign launch on Sunday, Mr Abbott said: “The Coalition will end Labor's procrastination and fully and finally implement the Howard/Turnbull/Anderson plan for the Murray-Darling basin.”

The dam idea was first raised by then Howard Government Water Resources Minister, later Opposition leader and now an Opposition backbencher, Malcolm Turnbull.

However, the idea was quickly shot down after an outcry from Northern Rivers communities.

Ms Saffin said Mr Abbott's comments meant the Liberal Party would push ahead with the dam plan regardless of the wishes of The Nationals.

“For them, this issue never goes away. Just as they love Work Choices and will bring it back one day, they are also wedded to the idea of diverting the Clarence,” she said.

Speaking at Boat Harbour near Lismore yesterday, Mr Truss, who will be Deputy Prime Minister if the Coalition wins the August 21 Federal election, dismissed Ms Saffin's claim, describing it as ‘absolute nonsense'.

“Labor must be extremely desperate to make a suggestion like that,” he said. “It's absolute nonsense. There are no plans to dam the Clarence. You can put that to bed absolutely.”

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