Networker Ellen Hogan has forwarded this letter from Jan Beer of Plug the Pipe:
The photos below were taken today, 27-9-09 and show minor flooding in the Yea River and over the Yea river wetlands/floodplain area, where the North-South Pipeline and easement crosses the wetlands. The Governments own environmental studies undertaken prior to construction suggested avoiding such flood prone areas, but ignorance is bliss for this Government.
As you can see the easement has only been re-instated in the last few weeks, and the likelihood now is that much of the topsoil, particularly where the current is strong, has been washed downstream.
I would like to know what the mitigation plans are in this area and the many other areas upstream along the Yea River that would now have had crucial topsoil washed away. I have failed to find any such mitigation plans, or indeed re-instatement plans, in the EMP's should flooding occur.
All I can say is "bloody idiots". They have just hoped like hell it didn't rain during construction, and have had no idea of the extent of flooding that can occur in the Yea River, even though they were informed in the Project Impact Hearing that flooding has and does occur in any month of the year in the Yea River Catchment.
As a farmer with 8 kilometres of Yea River frontage I can assure you that to have bare earth on the wetlands/floodplains in Spring is particularly stupid.
They have been extremely fortunate that this is only a very minor flood.
To be quite honest we have practically given up on making the proponent of this project accountable for their actions in any way , shape or form. It's all just so many meaningless words, that the Victorian Government in this case, seem to be able to interpret as they please, or are given the opportunity to negotiate.
It seems to us that the Victorian Government have used every legal loophole possible, and taken the liberty of interpreting the Minister's Conditions of Approval to suit their own strategies. This is not how the ordinary layperson feels the EPBC Act should be used. It is basically in place to protect our environment, and in this case we have all been let down.
We have a major pipeline infrastructure, which may soon divert 75 Billion litres from Victoria's biggest river, and we still have had no assessment of the impact it will have on ANY areas downstream of national environmental significance.
The Goulburn is Victoria's largest tributary to the Murray, which no longer flows to its natural mouth in the ocean, yet unbelievably Minister Garrett still refuses to call in the FoodBowl Referral.
My faith in the due and proper process of Government is failing fast.
Who will monitor and assess any damage caused by flooding and from where topsoil will be replaced, as the origin of any foreign topsoil could impact on downstream landowners.
Also did they have any mitigation plans in place for flooding, other than Minister Holding using his Ministerial powers to hold back the floodwaters? Well, it seems he has the power to do absolutely anything!!!!
Plug The Pipe Spokesperson Yea Group