General News

Labor plans to clear the water for Clarence

Fourteen years after the opening of Shannon Creek Dam, the Clarence Valley is desperate to finish the water security project that was started under a previous Labor government.

Now, Labor candidate for Clarence, Dr Leon Ankersmit, claims it will take another Labor government to finally deliver the long-awaited and much needed infrastructure that will secure Clarence’s drinking water supply well into the future.

“The Level 4 (severe) water restrictions imposed across the Clarence Valley in recent weeks due to dirty water from both the water sources should be no surprise,” says Dr Ankersmit.

“Both the Nymboida River and Shannon Creek Dam were too dirty to use for drinking water supply following rain events and the continued impact of the 2019 bushfires.

The Shannon Creek Dam was opened in 2009 and funded by the Coffs Harbour City and Clarence Valley Councils and the NSW Labor Government. Coffs Harbour has a filtration plant, but the Clarence Valley does not.

Dr Ankersmit said: “The National Party have been obsessed with agricultural water issues and left regional town water supplies to languish. By rights, the Clarence should already have a water filtration plant to ensure a clean water supply.”

“The bad news is that 14 years after the dam was built and 12 years since the Nationals came into power in NSW no filtration plant has been funded. Not even a promise.

“The good news is Labor understands the importance of water security for regional NSW. If Labor is elected in March, we can expect priority investment for this project from the Safe and Secure Water Program in partnership with local councils and the Federal Government.

Shadow Minister for Water, Rose Jackson: “It is not only Clarence residents left without clean drinking water. Dubbo has also been on boiled water alerts recently, Bermagui almost ran out of drinkable water and Yass has brown, smelly water on a regular basis. This is a problem for much of regional NSW caused by a government that has neglected these basic essentials for the past 12 years.

“NSW Labor is developing water security policies to ensure priority investment in water infrastructure including water filtration plants can occur.”