Franklin Dam: Fighting for the environment
Tasmanian Hydro-Electric Commission – with approval from the Tasmanian Government – announced plans to build a dam on the Franklin River to generate hydro-electricity. Tasmanians were sharply divided over the proposal. Many supported the project for the economic benefits it would bring to the state, while others opposed it because of the damage it would cause to an environmentally sensitive wilderness area. A large and sustained non-violent protest campaign against the dam, World Heritage listing of the area and intervention by the newly elected federal government led to the project being abandoned in 1983.
- Protesters opposing the dam mounted one of the largest environmental campaigns in Australian history. How important do you think their campaign was to the decision not to build the dam?
- The areas affected by the dam proposal gained World Heritage listing during the campaign. Why was this listing significant?
- What are the competing issues that need to be considered by a government when deciding whether to approve a project that has large economic benefits but a negative impact on the environment?
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