Stuart Ayres, the NSW Minister for Western Sydney, has today blundered his way through a nightmare interview on his plans to raise Warragamba Dam wall when interviewed on ABC 702 Breakfast this morning (26/11/2019) following yesterday’s parliamentary hearings on the issue.
When asked if there would be more development on the floodplain, Ayres stated “that’s absolutely wrong”, but followed on to admit that “the population will increase… people that live in Penrith, Richmond, Hawkesbury will have kids. And they will want to live there”
In response to a question about the Infrastructure NSW ‘Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley Flood Risk Management’ report which stated the floodplain population would double by 134,000 in 30 years, Ayres said “there are areas of the broader floodplain that aren’t impacted by flood water”.
The contradictory statement was followed with a confused diatribe about Aboriginal flood management in wester Sydney. Ayres stated:
“We have been doing this for thousands of years…we have been managing flood in the Hawkesbury-Nepean…[I believe Aboriginal Communities] managed floods, they understood how flood works, they moved their communities to where it is safer. That’s exactly what we are trying to do.”
When asked about areas that were currently proposed to be developed in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley were susceptible to floods he admitted “that’s correct, and we manage where the population goes so that population growth takes place in areas that won’t be impacted by inundation”.
GIVE A DAM Campaigner Harry Burkitt said: “People’s lives are at stake here, and the minister is once again demonstrating his complete lack of understanding of the significant flood risk in western Sydney. Putting more people on floodplains is a seriously risky business.
“The Minister must clarify what future floodplain communities he plans to place at risk in western Sydney before further hearings of the inquiry.”
The full interview can be found here
PDF Media Release available here