How dams became a dirty word
This article was published in The Australian 15 January 2011
The 1m difference between Brisbane's 1974 local flood peak height of 5.5m and Thursday morning's peak of 4.5m can partly be credited to the Wivenhoe dam, a fact that will add weight to the Coalition's push to make dam building part of its nation-building agenda.
Dams have been a dirty word in Australian politics since the Franklin dam dispute of the early 1980s, which made Bob Brown a household name and led to the creation of the Australian Greens. But the Queensland floods and the pivotal role of Wivenhoe are set to transform the politics of dams, as Tony Abbott's radar tells him.
Without the Wivenhoe, the impact on Brisbane would have been catastrophic, says Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce, a member of the frontbench committee tasked by Abbott to report back in 12 months on new water storages.