The Drip Saved against the will of Labor
Michael Johnsen MP, Member for Upper Hunter yesterday asked a question of the Minister for the Environment Mark Speakman - ‘How is the Government protecting our precious natural environment and, in particular, safeguarding The Drip for generations to come?
Minister Speakman said “I clarify for the benefit of members opposite that it is not a reference to anyone opposite. Instead, it is a question about a stunning natural sandstone formation through which water percolates and literally drips down the Goulburn River. I thank the member for Upper Hunter for his question and congratulate him on his strong advocacy on this issue and many others. The Government has fulfilled its election promise to save The Drip. This natural water feature and the 23 hectares of land surrounding this culturally significant site will be a wonderful addition to the Goulburn River National Park. Let us go back to 2010 and—wait for it—another bad decision by the Labor Government. What a surprise! When Labor was last in power it disgracefully sold this natural wonder and surrounding land for $2,000 in a dirty deed, done dirt cheap.
Mr. Johnsen said “We agree there are places that are suitable for mining and there are others that are not, The Drip is one of those places that are not.
The Drip is also the site of rare Brett Whiteley murals painted in 1970. Mr. Speakman said “his canvas entitled "My Armchair" sold for $3.9 million in 2012 so Labor's $2,000 price tag shows that it truly has no idea. Now we right their wrong by fulfilling our election commitment to protect this iconic natural wonder in perpetuity. That means there will be no mining activity affecting The Drip and there will be no tunnels under this land. I recently travelled to Mudgee with the Minister for Planning. We were told how important this spectacular natural asset was to the community. That is why the Government has acted.
“I thank the local Aboriginal community, the Wiradjuri people, and the Mudgee District Environment Group, for their work to save The Drip. And now further work is ongoing to secure more land nearby. This is part of a binding agreement reached with Moolarben Coal that secures no impact on water supply feeding The Drip and no subsidence impact from mining on The Drip and adjacent lands.
“We are a government that honours its commitments. We have corrected a dreadful Labor decision to flog The Drip for a measly $2,000. Under this Government The Drip will have full protection for future generations”, Mr. Johnsen said.