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Despite the Snowy 2.0 Shambles, Queensland Government Still Wants Hydro?

In the world of renewable energy, we're supposed to be paving the way for a better future. Yet, recent revelations about the Snowy 2.0 project have left us absolutely fuming. What's even more infuriating? The Queensland Government's persistent push for the Pioneer-Burdekin Pumped Hydro Project, despite the cataclysmic warning signs from Snowy 2.0.

The opening to one of the tunnels at Snowy Hydro 2.0
Image Credit (Four Corners)

Ignoring Blaring Alarms

Let's start with the tunnel that started filling up with gas at the Snowy 2.0 site. Workers were reassured it was just water vapor, but chemistry had other plans. The previous year, the colossal tunneling machine caused a sinkhole. Workers spent seven months trying to fix it, pouring in thousands of liters of grout, cement, and foam. Now, that foam triggered a toxic chemical reaction, all while Snowy Hydro, owned by the federal government, conveniently failed to mention this safety disaster. Instead, they kept churning out polished videos and press releases.

Astronomical Cost Overruns

Hold onto your hats; the initial estimate for Snowy 2.0 was $2 billion. Now? It's ballooned to a jaw-dropping $12 billion. What's the lion's share of this absurd blowout? Meet Florence, the tunnel boring machine. This thing should've tunneled 15 kilometers below Kosciuszko National Park by now. But guess what? It's barely moved 150 meters. To say Florence was doomed from the start is an understatement.

Warnings Tossed Aside

Here's where the outrage meter goes off the charts. Warnings from workers about soft ground and missing equipment were outright ignored. A critical "slurry system" that could have shored up the ground? Nope, nowhere to be seen. When they hit soft ground, Florence turned into a glorified paperweight. Workers pleaded to pause and rethink, but no, the show must go on. Florence kept inching forward, while workers spent weeks battling mud and water around the machine.

Toxic Gas and Safety Breaches

The nightmare doesn't end there. When they tried to stabilise the ground around Florence, it led to toxic gas flooding the tunnel. Workers who refused to carry on that night were told it was just water vapor. Only later did they learn it was the hazardous isocyanate gas. Snowy Hydro's response? Nothing to see here, folks. Work stopped for weeks, and it was deemed a "serious imminent risk" to health and safety.

Secrecy and Misleading the Public

But wait, there's more. Snowy Hydro conveniently kept the public in the dark about these issues. Sinkholes, toxic gas, and safety breaches weren't part of their glossy press releases. Instead, they spewed misleading statements and corporate videos to downplay the chaos unfolding beneath the ground.

A Bleak Future

So here we are, wondering how on earth Queensland thinks it's a good idea to keep going with the Pioneer-Burdekin Pumped Hydro Project after witnessing the Snowy 2.0 trainwreck. The colossal cost overruns, safety blunders, and a complete disregard for transparency should be ringing alarm bells. Yet, our government is blindly barreling forward.

Queensland's Outrage

We should be outraged. Outraged that the lessons of Snowy 2.0 are being ignored. Outraged that we're heading down a treacherous path, with potential disasters looming. Outraged that a project with this much controversy and uncertainty is still on the table.

A Call to Action

We must demand better. We must ensure that our voices are heard. The Pioneer-Burdekin Pumped Hydro Project deserves the highest level of scrutiny. It's high time our government acknowledges the grave concerns of local communities and environmental experts.

Enough Is Enough

In a world where reckless renewables and blind ambition prevail, we cannot sit idly by. We must stand together, hold our government accountable, and prioritise the well-being of our communities and our environment. The catastrophic failures of Snowy 2.0 should be a glaring reminder: we cannot afford to make the same mistakes in Queensland.



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