The Andrews government today approved EnergyAustralia’s proposal to temporarily divert the Morwell River through pipes across the Yallourn mine, reducing pressure on a damaged embankment that might otherwise collapse.
Environment Victoria Campaigns Manager Dr Nicholas Aberle said:
“We are pleased that EnergyAustralia and the government have landed on a plan that seems to deal with the risk of catastrophic collapse without riding roughshod over environmental concerns related to river diversion.
“In particular, we’re pleased that diverting any water into the Hazelwood pit further upstream is effectively a last resort.
“We’ve received clear assurances from government that this is not a backhand way of allowing Hazelwood to fill with water before its final rehabilitation plan has been approved.
“We’ll be keeping a close eye on the quality of the repair job to the Morwell River Diversion. The public needs to have confidence that repair works will be done adequately by EnergyAustralia.
“The recent damage to the embankment is clear evidence that the repair job in 2012 was not done well enough — there are still questions that need answering. The design of the river diversion should have been able to withstand a rain event of the size we’ve just had.
“With Yallourn closing in seven years and these repairs likely to cost a significant amount, the Earth Resources Regulator needs to triple-check that there is no cost-cutting by EnergyAustralia. The third attempt at building the Morwell River Diversion needs to last a lot longer than the first two.
“We welcome EnergyAustralia’s commitment to thorough monitoring of water quality, and we hope their findings will be released regularly, publicly and promptly.
“The approved plan appears to be the best way out of a bad situation.”
Greg Foyster, Media Manager,
Dr Nicholas Aberle, Campaigns Manager,