Snowy River Scheme to Greatly Benefit Decentralisation
10 January 1949 Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate
Big Power Plan Will Give Defence Secrecy.
Key industries and research vital to defence could be under- taken in relative security by hydro-electric power produced from the Snowy River diversion scheme. Mr. Chifley said in his 18th report to the nation, broad-cast last night.
He said power stations would be far removed from the coast, well dispersed and, being mostly under-ground, would be well protected from bombing.
Most key industries and munition factories had been established close to the coast because they needed the vast quantities of power produced by coal.
War increased the demands on power requirements, calling for more coal and more transport for coal when manpower was at a premium.
A minimum of labour would be required to operate hydro-electric generating stations.
Mr. Chifley said the Snowy River scheme would greatly benefit decentralisation of industry.
Cheap, reliable power would be provided in congenial country areas to provide the incentive to decentralise industries, especially those depending on agricultural pursuits.
Work needed for the scheme, which, Mr. Chifley said, was one of the greatest projects in the history of Australia's development, would cost between £166 million and £185 million, and would take probably a generation to complete.
Huge Power Supply Mr. Chifley said the plan re commended alternative proposals, including the use of water from the Murrumbidgee, Tumut and Cooma Rivers, in addition to the Snowy River.
If adopted by the Governments of New South Wales and Victoria, the plant would produce nearly 1,750,000 kilowatts.
This was 600,000 kilowatts more than the present combined consumption of New South Wales and Victoria.
Much more water would be de-livered to the Murrumbidgee Valley for irrigation.
The power would be produced by a vast network of 15 to 20 stations, which would require seven major dams, between 80 to 100 miles of tunnels through the Australian Alps and about 500 miles of race lines for feeding the water into the system.
The largest dam would be at Adaminaby, where one million acre feel would be retained.
Mr. Chifley said irrigation would not be sacrificed for the sake of power, because water for irrigation would be available to the full in the early stages.