Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet has vowed to lift the walls of Warragamba Dam in hell or high water and has declared that if the federal government refuses to come to the negotiating table and split the costs, NSW will do it alone .
But a major report on the project may not be ready by March’s state elections, and the prime minister has refused to commit to a timeframe for completion.
A day after pledging that he might fund the $1.6 billion megaproject without federal backing, Perrotet was not drawn on when a major environmental assessment would be finalized.
He said officials were working on an environmental impact statement and an independent report by WaterNSW and had instructions from himself to complete the work “as soon as possible.”
“My hope is that this issue will be expedited,” he said.
“That’s why we call it critical infrastructure.
“We don’t want red tape and bureaucracy to get in the way of this project.
“The advice from the Planning Minister on timing is to do it as soon as possible.”
This means the New South Wales government could head into state elections in March, especially in Sydney’s recurring flood-affected west, in what is shaping up as a key electoral issue. A completed report floats overhead.
Mr Perrott has promised for the first time that New South Wales will pay to raise the walls of the dam without Canberra raising the money.
“No one wants to see politicians arguing over cash,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
“If the federal government doesn’t come to the negotiating table, so be it. We’ll go ahead without the federal government.”
A senior NSW government source believes Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has privately denied funding the project, which is estimated to cost at least $1.6 billion.
That’s what Mr. Albanese refused to paint.
“We are not going to spend money to save lives in Western Sydney,” Mr Perrotet said.
Perrottet on Monday reiterated his strong belief that the federation should jointly fund projects of great importance.
“We are working on lifting the walls of the dam and when the time comes, the federal government will need to have half the cash ready for this project.
“Given that this is a project of national importance, 50/50 with the federal government is perfectly fair and reasonable,” he said.
“But I would like to clarify that this project is not subject to 50/50 funding,” he said.
Raising the walls of the dam by 14 meters could save more than 8,000 lives from the dangers of flooding over the next 20 years.
The Telegraph understands that Perrotet raised the issue with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese during a visit on Monday to tour flood-affected communities in Forbes.
Resources Minister Catherine King said on Monday that the federal government needs to get more information from NSW, although she is eyeing raising the walls of the dam ahead of next May’s budget.
“At this stage, we have not received sufficient information from the NSW government to make a decision,” she said in a statement.
Commonwealth has repeatedly asked NSW for more information about the project before making a decision.
“The Albanian government is open to discussing priorities with state governments, which could be considered for next year’s budget,” King said.
Raising the walls of the dam was declared a major National Critical Infrastructure project this month. The project will give Planning Minister Anthony Roberts the final say on whether to proceed with it.
While this designation reduces the amount of paperwork, WaterNSW officials still have to respond to project submissions.
The Environmental Impact Statement is in the final stages of preparation.
WaterNSW will then provide the Minister with an independent report, with Mr Roberts having the final say.
Government sources were tight-lipped about when a final decision would be made.
This comes after the Albanian government announced that NSW would get $1 billion in federal infrastructure projects as part of an $8.6 billion outlay, compared to Queensland ($1.47 billion) and Victoria (25 million dollars). billion dollars).
Treasury Secretary Matt Keane said New South Wales was “cheated” by the Albanian Labor government.
“Another example of Labor cheating NSW,” he said.
“Coalition members will always stand up for the state, so we will always fight for our fair share.”
https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/dominic-perrottet-vows-to-raise-warragamba-dam-wall-to-prevent-floods/news-story/453c2164021e6fef2ad3dce081b8adf0 Dominic Perrottet vows to raise Wallagamba Dam walls to prevent flooding