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  • Rikki Lambert

NSW government comes under fire for dam inaction

Wyangala Dam - now well underwater during the current NSW flood event

The Perrottet-Toole Coalition government has come under friendly fire for failures to improve dam infrastructure in the state as a party figurehead questions whether federal powers are needed to force flood mitigation works to occur.

National Party federal leader David Littleproud addressed regular comments from former leader and member for Riverina Michael McCormack - well before the graphic images of Wyangala Dam spilling - that the dam wall needed to be raised:

"Unfortunately states of all political persuasions have failed us. I've got to say, this is the opportunity for leadership not just to grow agriculture but for mitigation.
"It is illegal for a federal government to pick up a shovel and dig a hole for a dam in any state or territory. Under the constitution, the states have to do it. So what we've said (in government) is we'll pay for it, you burn the diesel and dig the hole. Unfortunately it doesn't matter which state it is, they have just had this aversion to digging the holes to prepare for the future, not just to grow our future but to protect us.

Hear the full interview on the Flow podcast player below:

Video footage shows the dramatic shift in spillway activity in recent weeks:

The National Party leader questioned whether changes to state-federal relations or the federal Constitution were needed to ensure regional communities are protected:

"I think Australians are jack of it. Unless the states actually step up and take what's left of the money and start digging the holes, there needs to be a look at what federally we can do, if there's any emergency power that we can bring to start digging it ourselves, and that may be changes to the Constitution but this is getting to a critical stage where we should have mitigation and planning for the future. We put the money there despite Labor taking it away but it means nothing unless you've got a state that's prepared to do something about it. I've got to say unfortunately none of the states are."

Mr Littleproud zeroed in on his state colleagues in coalition with the Liberal Party in government under premier Dom Perrottet regarding the Wyangala Dam:

"When you see the toll of what's happened on us not acting, on not lifting that (Wyangala) dam wall in NSW at the moment, then there's culpability that needs to be sheeted home and there needs to be responsibility to fix it. There needs to be common sense and that's what the Nationals will continue to prosecute."


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