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Fears of Traveston backflip

THE Traveston Crossing dam would be only one political backflip away, if Liberal leader Tony Abbott is elected Prime Minister, it was claimed yesterday.

Wide Bay Burnett Environment Council president Roger Currie said Mr Abbott was "the man most likely to be the new Prime Minister after the next federal election".

He said Mr Abbott's plan to return to the state's environmental veto powers under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act would destroy the Act's ability "to protect the Mary River into the future".

The plan was strongly supported by Premier Campbell Newman, who had described federal rejection of the Traveston Crossing dam as "one of the most appalling decisions in the use of that Act".

Mr Currie said the Coalition appeared "determined to destroy the ability of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to protect the Mary River into the future".

This was despite Coalition politicians having made effective use of the law in the political campaign against the dam.

"They initiated the demolition of Traveston Dam using the EPBC Act to allow (then-Environment Minister Peter) Garrett to ultimately reject it," he said.

Although Mr Newman had said he did not support the dam, Mr Currie said: "It is not uncommon for major political backflips to occur, for example asset sales and the carbon tax".

He said the Valley remained home to an identified strategic reserve of water and only the EPBC Act stood in the way of "the allocation of this reserve to supply Brisbane via a dam on the Mary River".

Anti-dam leader Glenda Pickersgill said she accepted Mr Newman's assurances the government did not support a Traveston dam.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney has promised a new Mary Valley revitalisation policy within the next few weeks.

Topics:  environment politics prime minister tony abbott traveston crossing dam

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