TEN YEARS ON: Glenda Pickersgill with Peter Garrett, Tony Hawkyard and Arthur Gorrie at the Mary River Festival celebrations today, Saturday November 9.
TEN YEARS ON: Glenda Pickersgill with Peter Garrett, Tony Hawkyard and Arthur Gorrie at the Mary River Festival celebrations today, Saturday November 9.

GALLERY: 20 photos from the Mary River festival

TEN years ago the then federal environment minister Peter Garrett said no to the proposed Traveston Dam which would have destroyed the environment, wildlife and impacted businesses in the Gympie region.

 

Mr Garrett attended the Mary River festival where hundreds of people gathered to meet the man who helped stop the Traveston Dam from proceeding on November 11, 2009.

 

SEE MORE:

1. Valley saviour Peter Garrett was a 'decent, honest' minister

2. From misery to renewal, the Traveston dam left a hole

 

Mr Garrett said it was an easy decision to make as the case presented before him was not convincing or compelling.

Mary River Festival celebrations – Bob Fredman and Mick Curran
Mary River Festival celebrations – Bob Fredman and Mick Curran

"The impact on any dam on listed and threatened endangered species was such that a national environment minister could decide to protect those species and also at the same time protect the environment of this region by making that decision,' he said.

 

"This was one of the most important decisions I made to say no to the dam over the Mary River. I am proud of the decision but more importantly I am absolutely delighted to be among the community here who fought from the very start against what was really a poorly considered proposal.

 

"As a community I wanted to come back and pay my respects and say hello and spend some time with people here."

 

Mr Garrett explained one of the reasons he said no to the Traveston Dam proposal.

Mary River Festival celebrations – Matilda Joy and Shaelyn McKinless
Mary River Festival celebrations – Matilda Joy and Shaelyn McKinless

"The environment must come first in Australia in times of drought, in times of climate change, economic good times and economic bad times because without a healthy environment, we've got nothing else at all," he said.

 

"Underneath the decision I made to make sure there wasn't a dam across the Mary River was a decision to put the environment first and that's what I expect to see happen at a State level and at a Federal level for all ministers, premiers and prime ministers who have got that authority. Dams are not the answer, sometimes they might be needed, sometimes they may not, but protecting the environment no matter what is the answer."

 

Mr Garrett thanked the Mary Valley community for a successful campaign and said it was one of the best campaigns he had ever seen.

Mary River Festival celebrations – Anthony and Arlow Baker
Mary River Festival celebrations – Anthony and Arlow Baker

"It was inventive, incredibly persistent, it was heartfelt and it was an acknowledgeable campaign where people weren't just angry about what might happen, they actually did the hard work of coming up with reasons why it shouldn't happen," he said.

 

"It was also a campaign that involved a widespread of the community and when you get one of those campaigns, you know the issue is a real one."

 

Gympie Regional Council mayor Mick Curran thanked Peter Garrett for attending the festival.

 

Mary River Festival celebrations - Peter Garrett.
Mary River Festival celebrations - Peter Garrett.

"Absolutely. Not only for the decision that he had made 10 years ago, but he's a legend in Australian music, so how good is it for the people of the Mary Valley and the wider region to be able to meet and greet the famous Peter Garrett," he said.