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Byron Shire
January 25, 2021

Bob Carr weighs in on Dunoon Dam debate

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Bob Carr with Lismore MP Janelle Saffin at Terania Creek on the weekend. Photo supplied.

On Saturday the former Premier of NSW and former Australian Foreign Minister took a walk up Terania Creek, near The Channon.

Mr Carr is now Industry Professor at the Institute for Sustainable Futures UTS (Business and Climate Change). He was accompanied on the walk by a small group including Hugh and Nan Nicholson, Annie Kia of WATER Northern Rivers Alliance, and the Member for Lismore, Janelle Saffin.

Annie Kia said, ‘Yesterday’s walk to the Circle Pool in Terania was both good and sad. Good to walk with champions like Nan and Hugh Nicholson, who, with others, put their bodies on the line to save this extraordinary rainforest.

‘Good to walk with Bob Carr, who last did this walk last in 1986, having created the National Park as Environment Minister in the Wran government. A political leader who understands ecology. Good to walk with our local Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin, who is so very helpful. And to hear ecologist Rob Kooyman describe the Gondwanan lineages that live on in these forests.

Bob Carr with a burnt-out forest giant. Photo supplied.

‘The sad bit was seeing ancient, majestic giants that burned last year when the unthinkable happened, and fossil-fuelled fire came to the rainforest.’

Bob Carr visits proposed Dunoon Dam site

Yesterday Mr Carr also explored the area threatened by the proposed Dunoon Dam.

On Twitter he said, ‘In the Channon Gorge, crucial part of remaining 1 percent of Big Scrub rainforest. This area set to be demolished for Dunoon Dam is 6 percent of that remaining 1 percent.’

In another tweet Mr Carr said he was, ‘deep in the rainforest of Rocky Creek set to be flooded by Rous Council outside Lismore. Would fit Deputy Premier Barilaro strategy of Net Zero Koalas by 2050.’

On Facebook, the No Dunoon Dam Info group responded by saying, ‘We are very grateful that Bob Carr went into The Channon Gorge today, with Janelle Saffin the Member for Lismore.

‘When Bob heard that Big Scrub Rainforest was threatened, he wanted to come up here to see it. Bob gets the significance of this. When he was Environment Minister in the Wran government, he created the Nightcap National Park in 1983, and soon after walked with Hugh and Nan Nicholson to see the majestic rainforest his government had protected.

‘Yesterday he repeated that walk with Hugh and Nan to the Circle Pool in Terania to see impacts from unprecedented fires due to global warming.

Janelle Saffin with Bob Carr in the Channon Gorge. Photo supplied.

‘Today he came into The Channon Gorge, with Janelle. Warm thanks to both of them for their willingness to see this place first hand, and for their help.’

Time to ReThink Water?

WATER Northern Rivers Alliance is a community organisation representing six community groups.

They recently launched their website, with a statement from representative Simon Clough calling on Rous County Council to rethink water.

‘It’s time for Rous County Council to hit the pause button on its drive to approve construction of the huge Dunoon Dam,’ said Mr Clough.

‘Water security is a critical issue to industry, businesses and households, Australia’s peak water services association explicitly warns that new dams are “high risk investments”. Experts say water security is achieved by having a mix of supply options, including some that don’t need rain, such as purified recycled water, or green-powered desalination.’

Simon Clough. Photo Tree Faerie.

Mr Clough said the proposal for a new $240,000,000 dam on the same creek as the existing dam is going down the wrong track.

‘It will make our community vulnerable, not resilient because of the impacts of climate change. We need to heed what the experts are saying.’

Concerns remain

According to WATER Northern Rivers Alliance, major concerns about the dam have not changed since 1995 and 2014 when the dam was rejected.

Important Aboriginal heritage would be obliterated by flooding and the dam would destroy approximately 60 hectares of lowland rainforest, comprising 6% of the remaining 1% of the Big Scrub, unable to be replaced by environmental ‘offsets’.

Channon Gorge, threatened by proposed Dunoon Dam. Photo David Lowe.

The Alliance has called for Rous County Council to stop the dam and ReThink Water, based on what the Water Services Association of Australia and other experts recommend.

They say there should be public presentations from external experts on innovation in water management and site visits by engineers from Water Sensitive Cities projects such as Warrnambool Roof Water Harvesting.

They have also called for serious investigation of rainfall-independent projects, conducted by experts in these technologies.

‘We are at a crossroads,’ said Mr Clough. ‘We can expect worsening droughts as our climate heats up. We need to create a resilient water system, rather than adding to drought vulnerability with last century’s dam.

‘We are a very creative region. If we have the vision and commitment, we can create a water system fit for the 21st century’, he said.

Mr Clough urged people curious to learn more about alternatives to the Dunoon Dam to find how things got to this point, and why we need to ReThink Water.

More stories about the Dunoon Dam

Rous County Councillors

Rescission motion on table for Dunoon Dam

Three pro-dam councillors have announced a rescission motion to be discussed at the next Rous County Council meeting, seeking to overturn the recent decision to abandon the Dunoon Dam.


Dunoon Dam’s fate debated at Ballina

Hot on the heels of Rous County Council's decision to stop the Dunoon Dam, Ballina councillors got their say on the latest twist in the future water saga with a motion from Cr Jeff Johnson.


Dunoon Dam ditched by Rous County Council

With numbers locked yesterday, the Chair of Rous County Council, Keith Williams, voted to prevent the contentious Dunoon Dam project proceeding, at a not-so ordinary Rous meeting in Lismore.


Traditional owners say no to Dunoon Dam

Widjabul Wia-bal traditional owners of the area between Dunoon and the Channon have told Rous County Council not to follow Rio Tinto with the destructive Dunoon Dam.


‘Overwhelming majority’ object to Dunoon Dam proposal

With public submissions on Rous Council’s proposed Dunoon Dam expected to be released Wednesday December 16, Ballina councillor and Rous chair Keith Williams told The Echo that submissions he has seen so far indicate strong opposition.


All water options on the table for Ballina?

The Dunoon Dam wasn't officially on the agenda at the last Ballina Council meeting, but that didn't stop a heated discussion breaking out on the subject in a motion about water efficiency.


Bob Carr weighs in on Dunoon Dam debate

On Saturday the former Premier of NSW and former Australian Foreign Minister took a walk up Terania Creek, near The Channon.


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  1. How ridiculous and unbelievable that sadly only 1% remains intact of the big scrub and yet, some people think we can off set this …HOW? The Channon Gorge is a magnificent area and many people put their bodies on the line to stop the logging of this rare & irreplaceable rainforest. Thank God (dess) Neville Wran was in power in the 80’s and created Nightcap NPark. Bob Carr was the best environment minister ( along with Bob Debus )this state has ever had. How tragic we have this useless & dangerous lot in parliament , what a sad contrast. Bob is right about Koalas being net zero by 2050, Thanks to Gladys & her team of ignorant eco vandals. What is sooooo damn hard to understand about the fact that this planet doesn’t need us but we sure NEED it??? By the way ‘media alert’ Koalas need trees & connectivity in order to survive, 2050 is a long way off .Koalas can’t wait that long.

    • The traditional owners cared for this beautiful country for thousands of years and western civilization has managed to destroy it in a few hundred. The anger, frustration and sadness from this ignorance, greed and stupidity is overwhelming. I can’t imagine how the ancestors of the Widjabal people and the Bundjalung nation must feel.

    • Bob Carr…. really echo?

      Bob instigated Public/Private Partnerships, like building motorways that are usually free but not once a PPP is involved, they add a toll. He was also in charge when Macquarie Bank bought Sydney airport. Bob could only wait 2 months after quitting politics to go and “work” for Macquarie bank. Guess who owns the speed camera vans in NSW? Hint – it’s not the NSW Govt but it is a bank!

      Labor and Libs are that close on major policies that seriously affect the livelihood of the masses and animals it’s laughable, as is the thinking that one set of politicians is better than the other.

      Nothing will change while vested interests fund political parties who in turn make policy in favour of the donors.

      Perhaps a fairdinkum party that only takes donations from the people, then they can do favours for the people!

  2. This dam makes NO sense whatsoever!!
    Use your brains Rous Water… think PLEASE…
    no big scrub left, no koalas left, no beautiful old trees… just more & more carnage!
    There are now so many alternatives available to use to supply us with water…
    Are we living in the 1800s?

  3. Creating Simon Clough’s water system fit for the 21st century could well be less expensive, but a number of influential people may have dibs on that quarter of a billion dollars so it might be a bit of a fight.


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