Environmental Defenders Office lawyers acted for community groups in their historic campaign against the Traveston Crossing Dam on the Mary River, in south east Queensland. The dam would have threatened numerous wildlife species and drowned high-quality agricultural land.
The project, upstream of Gympie, was announced by the Queensland Government in a media release in April 2006. The government proceeded as if approval of the dam was a fait accompli, before any community consultation or environmental assessments.
Queensland’s Coordinator-General approved the dam under Queensland’s State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 in October 2009 – legislation that does not allow appeals against approvals.
EDO acted as legal advisers for the Save the Mary River Coordinating Group. EDO advised the Coordinating Group on the approvals processes and on legal options to challenge approval. Local people, landowners and farmers mounted a huge public campaign against the dam.
In 2009, the Federal Environment Minister refused to approve the dam under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) because of likely impacts on the Australian lungfish, Mary River turtle and Mary River cod.