Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Bell Road politics backfires

“The Colong Foundation for Wilderness congratulates the Iemma Government rejection of $20 million detailed study of the Bells Line Superhighway. Two expert studies have already determined that this proposal is very environmentally damaging and totally uneconomic # . The amount of money proposed certainly would have taken the road scheme to the development application stage, which would have been very worrying,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“Last week Prime Minister John Howard's offered to contribute $10 million dollars towards the road study. If accepted, the offer would have played wedge politics with Bob Debus, Candidate for Macquarie. As former NSW Environment Minister Mr Debus could not, and would not, perform the backflip of supporting this detrimental road scheme. He would lose all credibility as the Federal seat that covers large areas with a high green vote,” Mr Muir said.

“John Howard may not have lost his magic political touch, but he sure has played a bad hand this time. But then, the environment was never Mr Howard's strong suit”, said Mr Muir.

Green Cathedrals safe – for now at least

“Caustral, Rayon, Bowen and Thunder are the iconic canyons just off Bells Line of Road. The prospect of filling up these wonderful green cathedrals with millions of tonnes of sediment from superhighway construction is totally abhorrent. The proposal would trigger a level of protest not seen in the Mountains for decades. Many people from all walks of life are totally passionate about these majestic places”, he said.

“If the RTA, John Howard or anyone else for one minute think they're up for a protest of Franklin Dam intensity over this super-road proposal that professional civil engineers repeatedly say is uneconomic and environmentally damaging, then the Colong Foundation suggest they take a reality check”, Mr Muir said.

“Approval of the Bells superhighway would put at risk the most loved bits of a World Heritage listed national park. Proceeding with the scheme would prove to be costly political mistake for the governments involved,” he said.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 9550 3615 (ah)

# See $2 million Sinclair Knight Mertz report in November 2005 (last page of summary) http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/constructionmaintenance/downloads/blor_corridor_study_dl1.html 
and a Maunsell McIntire Report in June 2000.