A Traditional Owner representing the Ngarigo Nation in southern New South Wales says she has received no consultation about a plan to dump tonnes of waste spoil on her Country.
The Snowy Hydro’s Environmental Impact Statement details plans to excavate approximately seven million cubic metres of earth for the project’s tunnels and subterranean power station.
That spoil will then be dumped on 55 hectares across four sites within Kosciuszko National Park.
Two of those sites are along the banks of the Talbingo and Tantangara reservoirs, with plans showing the spoil physically altering their shorelines.
Professor Jakelin Troy is the Director for Indigenous Research at the University of Sydney and a Ngarigo Traditional Custodian.
The national park is her Country and natural habitat for her totem, the Kosciuszko Galaxia.
“To take from one part of my Country and dump on another part of my Country, particularly where my totem lives, is nothing short of complete destruction, I would say of me and my community,” she told NITV News.
She fears the spoil will end up downriver from the two dams and says she has not heard from Snowy Hydro about the proposal.
“The Ngarigo Nation’s Indigenous Corporation, which I’m a member of and my family belongs to as well, has had no consultation about this,” she said.
However, the Brungle-Tumut Local Aboriginal Land Council has been involved in the consultation process.
The Land Council’s CEO, Sue Bulger, says her organisation has been invited to meetings and site surveys, but remains concerned about the impacts of the spill entering waterways.
“We have indicated that we are not in favour of anything being put into the two reservoirs of Tantangara or Talbingo dams,” Ms Bulger said.
“It would have a detrimental impact on the environment ... because we have the best water in Australia, and we don’t want that to be ruined.”
Ian White, an Emeritus Professor of Water Resources at the Australian National University, believes Snowy Hydro recognises this is a risky procedure.
“There’d be fairly long-term tests they’d need to do before people can be convinced that they weren’t going to do any damage,” he said.
A Snowy Hydro spokesperson told NITV that throughout its 70-year history, the company has been a proud custodian of environmental values in the park.
“Strict conditions around spoil disposal have been set as part of the approval process which we are fully complying with,” the spokesperson said.