Stephen Burgess

Stephen Burgess

Steve has been fascinated by the unique ecology of Queensland’s Mary River since moving there in 1994. Between 2006 and 2010 he used his expertise as an agricultural systems modeller to argue for a better outcome than the proposal to dam the Mary at Traveston Crossing. Following the abandonment of the dam proposal in late 2009 he has worked on the recovery of the local community and the ongoing issues of river management. In 2016 he was the recipient of the Bob Hawke National Landcare award for his lifetime efforts in natural resource management.

10 Years After The Traveston Crossing Dam Decision: A Review.

November 2019 marks a decade since the Australian Government’s “no dam” ruling regarding the proposed Traveston Crossing Dam on the Mary River in South East Queensland.  From the time of the dam’s unexpected announcement in early 2006 to the project’s demise in early 2010 the Queensland government had been busy building the major infrastructure required to support the proposal and actively preparing for construction.  These actions included acquiring much of the land required for the reservoir, acquiring the land for and constructing the associated pipeline interconnectors and road relocations.   This displaced many residents of the Mary Valley and surrounding areas and severely disrupted the local economy and social fabric. The 2005 draft Water Resource Plan for the Mary Basin was hastily revised following the dam announcement to facilitate it’s construction and operation. There had been no public consultation on the prospect of a dam in that location during the years of negotiation and preparation of this key water resource legislation.  Although there was extensive planning for the future management of the Mary River on the assumption of the dam project proceeding, there was no “plan B” for a future Mary Valley without a dam at Traveston Crossing.  This paper looks at what has happened as a result of this lack of planning and effective implementation of recovery actions, from the point of view of community recovery, water resource planning and threatened species recovery.

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