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24 January 2009
A proposal by the South Australian government to upgrade the Pomanda Peninsula causeway can go ahead under national environment law.
After a period of public consultation, Environment Minister Peter Garrett deemed the proposal not a controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
"This proposed work is not a controlled action under national environment law because it will not have a significant impact on any matters of National Environmental Significance" Minister Garret said.
"I allowed South Australia to bring forward the assessment of the causeway due to time constraints associated with protecting Adelaide's water supply should final approval be given to the proposed Wellington Weir.
"This work may proceed if South Australia chooses to do so but I must emphasise, today's decision does not provide approval for the construction of the proposed Weir.
"I have made it absolutely clear to the South Australian government this in no way pre-empts a decision on the Wellington Weir proposal, which I understand is one of a number of proposals South Australia is examining.
"If South Australia chooses to go ahead with the approach works they do so in the full knowledge the weir may or may not be approved and they do so at their own financial risk" he said.
The proposed Wellington Weir is currently undergoing assessment at the level of Environmental Impact Statement.
"I will not be in a position to consider my final decision on the weir until the completion of a rigorous and publicly transparent assessment process.
"Given the critical timeframes, I encourage the South Australian Government to submit its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Weir proposal so that the process of public comment can commence.
"I can assure interested people that the draft EIS for the weir proposal is released for public comment for no less than 20 business days" Mr Garrett said.
More information on the EPBC Act processes relating to the Lower Lakes can be found at http://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/index.html