River man welcomes dam block
ALSTONVILLE engineer Steve Posselt is in Broken Hill showing a Chinese delegation the degradation of the Murray Darling river system, yet he has a huge smile on his face.
Mr Posselt’s good humour is the result of Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett’s announcement the Traveston Crossing dam in the Sunshine Coast hinterland will not go ahead.
Mr Posselt is, in part, responsible for the demise of the dam project.
In April 2008 Mr Posselt set out on an adventure he hoped would raise awareness of the plight of the Mary River, the proposed site of the Traveston Crossing dam.
He paddled a kayak 860 kilometres, starting on the Brisbane River at Brisbane before dragging his craft over the Conondale Ranges and launching onto the Mary River. He travelled the length of the Mary River until he reached to ocean at Harvey Bay.
During his journey he attracted media attention for the cause and gathered 3250 signatures on a petition to save the Mary River. He then paddled from Brisbane to Sydney to deliver the petition to Peter Garrett.
Mr Posselt said his decision to fight for Australian waterways was a result of a motorbike accident in 2006 that nearly killed him.
“When I didn’t die I decided that I had to make my life mean something,” he said.
“My main concern as an engineer is that a government would make an assessment about a $1 billion infrastructure project in the space of an afternoon. The project needed proper analysis.”
While paddling the Mary River, Mr Posselt saw endangered species including the Mary River turtle and the lung fish, a creature alive since the time of the dinosaurs and native to only two rivers.
Mr Posselt said he was proud of his involvement in fighting for the Mary River and so relieved by the federal government’s decision.
“It is just so important to us as a nation that we don’t keep buggering up our waterways.
“I don’t think we should have any major dams built in this country because we can see the damage they do. They change eco-systems and destroy fisheries out to sea from the estuary.
“Without rivers we don’t have people. This decision feels like a victory and shows it is not too late.”
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