The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has withdrawn its support from the controversial Warragamba Dam Wall raising project.
The project, which will see the wall raised 14 metres, would inundate Gundungurra Country and drown sites in the Burrargorang Valley. Traditional Owners and members of the local Aboriginal community have been opposing the project since its proposal.
In a letter obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald, ICA’s new chief executive Andrew Hall called on the Berejiklian Government to find alternatives to flood mitigation for the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley floodplain.
“[T]he position of the general insurance industry is now that without satisfactory environmental and cultural heritage impact assessments being completed and made public to allow for [a] full and open assessment, the industry is unable to support the proposal as it currently stands,” Hall wrote.
“We would advocate for the exploration of alternative mitigation options to reduce flood risks for downstream communities in consultation with the industry and Traditional Owners.”
Gundungurra Traditional Owner Kazan Brown has been fighting the proposal since day one and said ICA’s withdrawal is a “step in the right direction”.
“We’re hoping that everyone else takes notice, looks into it a bit more and does the same thing,” she said.
“We have noticed support building slowly, it is getting bigger and we are seeing it more in mainstream now.”
Brown hopes with enough backing, the proposal to raise the wall will be written off.
“I hope it gets shut down for good and not just 12 months or something and it is back. It needs to be off the table,” she said.
The wall raising has been proposed to mitigate the flood risk to the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley floodplain. This area has a proposed large-scale development by local Liberal Member and Minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres.
Minister Ayres is steadfast in his support for the project.
ICA’s withdrawal of support follows Insurance Australia Group pulling their backing in October.
By Rachael Knowles