It can be revealed that in 2015 Minister for Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, stood next to a flood marker in his electorate of Penrith and said urban development would occur “as far as the eye can see” across the Hawkesbury low-lands, adding "the scale of this is just so large... there are so many opportunities we can explore here with different kinds of housing."
Former NSW Emergency Services Minister, Bob Debus, said:
"It's not protesters who are saying the planning for the dam wall by the minister's department is slipshod and no good, it’s other State and Federal government departments.
"The Minister wants to put 134,000 more people onto already overcrowded floodplains, where people will still be exposed to the worst and most dangerous floods however high a wall is built [page 3, Hawkesbury Nepean Valley Flood Risk Management Strategy].
"What a strange way to protect the people of western Sydney.
"It's like another badly thought out stadium plan. Careless destruction of the National Park in order to overdevelop the floodplain and give people a false sense of security.
"Flood experts now tell us the same thing they told the Government 20 years ago - a raised dam wall could not stop the biggest and most dangerous floods anyway.
"If the Minister really wants to protect the people of western Sydney he shouldn't be putting thousands more of them in harm's way on the floodplain to begin with."