New environmental laws promised at Macquarie candidates forum in Springwood

More than 100 people attended a forum in Springwood on Friday night to hear federal election candidates' views on environmental laws and Warragamba Dam.

Sitting Labor MP Susan Templeman went to head to head with Greens candidate Kingsley Liu. Liberal candidate Sarah Richards had told organisers the Australian Conservation Foundation, that she was occupied elsewhere.

Both Labor and Greens candidates promised a new Australian Environment Act and establishing a federal environmental protection agency.

Mr Liu went one step further, advocating for a national environment commission to ensure threatened species recovery was prioritised and tracked.

The impact of the proposed raising of the Warragamba Dam wall, was contentious. 

"We know raising the wall has significant environmental impacts for the Blue Mountains that need proper consideration but have been totally ignored by the NSW government. Nor have we been given transparency around the other options and the main focus appears to be to justify increases in housing across the flood plains of the Hawkesbury Nepean," Ms Templeman said.

Mr Liu described the proposal to raise the dam wall as "reckless and ignorant."

"We should not be building on Sydney's best farmland, destroying our food bowl and the natural flood controls provided by wetlands, bush and farms," he said.

ACF moderator Jess Abrahams said Ms Templeman had said if Labor was elected it would have strong, new laws in place by the time the dam came before the federal government which would make it easier to stop such a destructive development. Mr Liu agreed federal powers should be used to overrule the NSW government and said the dam should simply not be built.

Climate change and the federal government's approval of the Adani coal mine were also debated.

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