Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Dunoon Dam – Respecting the wishes of traditional owners on Dunoon Dam

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Dunoon and District Gazette

Channon Gorge
The Channon Gorge, site of the proposed Dunoon Dam wall. Image shows Terania valley on left, Rocky Creek valley centre-right, World Heritage listed Nightcap National Park in distance. Photo credit: Balloon Aloft, Byron Bay.

WATER Northern Rivers Alliance calls on Rous County Council and state water planners to respect the wishes of Widjabul Wia-bal people who have voiced their opposition to the proposed Dunoon Dam. The dam would obliterate important cultural heritage ancient burial sites. Yesterday John Roberts, a senior Elder of the Widjabul Wia-bal stated that when he and other traditional custodians were consulted about the dam in 2011 they made it clear that no level of disturbance was acceptable.

John Roberts and niece Cindy Roberts
John Roberts and niece Cindy Roberts. Photo: contributed

“When Aboriginal people have unequivocally stated their objection to the dam, they should be listened to” said Nan Nicholson spokesperson for WATER Northern Rivers Alliance.

“The pattern of trying to wear down Aboriginal people with repeated consultations is unacceptable. Rous did a Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment with a NO DAM answer in 2011. They conducted another report in 2013, and now it looks like they want to subject Widjabul Wia-bal people to yet another ‘consultation’ process. It’s starting to look like their aim is to keep going until they get the answer they want”.

“The bottom line is that this destructive dam is not necessary”, said Annie Kia. 

“We have opportunities now that were not present when Rous set the Dunoon dam proposal in motion. The new approach to water is to spread risk across a portfolio of strategies, including some that don’t depend on rain. The change is evident in the NSW Productivity Commission Greenpaper that advises efficiencies and new sources such as purified recycled water.

“The new approach is spelt out in All Options on the Table from the Water Services Association of Australia, in which dams are described as high-risk investments, and the case is made for innovation to ensure supply-demand balance. We encourage interested people to go to the Smart Water Options page on our website.”

Dunoon and District Gazette Feb-March 2021

This article appeared in the Dunoon and District Gazette, February – March 2021.

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