Dick Smith: Let’s not raise the dam so that we can have more people in Sydney, let’s actually not have more people in Sydney

Australian entrepreneur, Dick Smith, has thrown his support behind the campaign to save the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area from a NSW Government proposal to raise Warragamba dam wall. Raising the dam wall would flood up to 65 kilometres of wild rivers and streams within the World Heritage Area to justify new urban sprawl across western Sydney floodplains.

Mr Smith spoke to the campaign with veteran environmentalist Bob Brown on a helicopter flight over the southern Blue Mountains wilderness that would be flooded by raising the dam wall.

“The people pushing for the dam raising say it’s a safety issue, and you can use safety to just about justify anything in life, sometimes dishonestly.

“The problem with raising the dam is, when will enough be enough? And I can tell you that for the developers, enough will never be enough - the greed is unlimited.

“They’ll want Sydney to go to 10 million, and then 20 million. So one day you have to say let’s live in balance, and this would be a good example of saying let’s stop now. Let’s not raise the dam so that we can have more people in Sydney, let’s actually not have more people in Sydney.”

Wild Rivers Campaigner, Harry Burkitt, echoed Dick Smith’s call to protect one of Australia's most iconic natural landscapes from the consequences uncontrolled urban sprawl, while emphasising the need to ensure effective flood management in existing downstream communities.

“It is great to have Dick onboard with the campaign given his lifelong advocacy for the Australian environment and his strong connection with the southern Blue Mountains wilderness and its wild rivers. His high profile within the Australian community will undoubtedly benefit the growing momentum against this destructive dam raising project.”

“The prospectus release by Infrastructure NSW on the dam wall raising states that they plan to add over 130,000 people to western Sydney floodplains by 2047 if the dam wall is raised - this is ludicrous. Are we so desperate to overpopulate Sydney that we now want to build houses on low-lying floodplains? We all saw the end result of this flawed developer-driven agenda on the Brisbane River floodplains back in the 2011 floods.

“There has been extensive research done on flood management in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley, which doesn’t involve raising Warragamba dam wall. A $57 million NSW Government strategy developed from the findings of ‘Achieving a Hawkesbury-Nepean Flood Management Strategy’ in 1997 did not find in favor of raising Warragamba dam wall. A recent study by the Institute of Sustainable Futures at UTS also identified a range of alternative flood management strategies using Warragamba dam without raising the dam wall.”

Dick Smith speaking on the proposal: https://youtu.be/R0Iqfu8nFmI

Media contact:
Harry Burkitt
0490 010 909