The Government's announcement of $483m to fund the Urannah Dam, in close proximity to numerous existing and planned mining projects, is an undisguised investment in the expansion of the coal industry.
The dam, in Joyce's own words, will provide water security for the nearby coal mining industry to grow into the future - even at a time when we need to urgently reduce emissions to avoid the impacts of climate change that parts of our country are currently experiencing.
The Greens environment and water spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young said:
"While towns in NSW are still cleaning up from the disastrous climate floods, Barnaby Joyce and Scott Morrison want to spend half a billion dollars to help build more coal mines and make climate change worse - this is unforgivable.
"Barnaby’s big dam is all about helping expand the coal industry in the Bowen Basin - a project that has been dismissed by scientists, economists and the community. It’s makes a mockery of the Morrison Government’s net zero promise and their upcoming Federal Budget.
“The climate has changed - it’s happening now. We're seeing the crisis unfold before our eyes, with people's homes lost, their livelihoods destroyed. Australians can't afford new projects that ignore the impacts of climate change.
"Voters around the country will be angry that Barnaby Joyce gets to spend $500 million on a massive dam for his coal donors, while people who have lost their homes in the bushfires and now the floods still don’t have homes to live in.
"This announcement has put a torpedo through the economic credibility of this Government. The feasibility studies into this project all show that this is nothing more than boondoggle - a waste of public money and a waste of time. When majority of voters support action on climate change, spending public money on making climate change worse is simply bad economic management.
“How on earth did this get the tick off from the Treasurer and the Finance Minister? Josh Frydenberg and Simon Birmingham should be embarrassed, Barnaby is already making a mockery of their Budget."