Tinaroo Dam Debate


To motivate pupils towards taking an active part in helping to care for our environment.

Step 1 - Pre Lesson:
Select 6 people from the class who want to be involved in the TV interview. Pupils need no preparation or learning lines - the teacher virtually leads the pupils to the desired answers. The teacher is the interviewer.

Characters being interviewed include:

Luigi Lamborghini: Dimbulah mango farmer who stands to make many dollars if the dam goes ahead.

Betty Businesswoman: Atherton shop owner who will also benefit.

Tommy Tourist: Cairns resident who can see enormous potential for bus tours and recreation.

Katie Kulara: Resident of Kulara township (family has lived in the town for 100 years) which will be completely inundated.

Daisy Dairyfarmer: Her family has a farm on the banks of the Barron River. The farm will go under water and she will have no income to feed 12 kids.

Tiny Timbercutter: Sawmiller from the Danbulla area and the timber lease he is cutting will go under. He and his 12 employees will lose their jobs.

Step 2 - Setting the Scene:
Have the pupils imagine they are going back in time some 40 years. They are local residents and have gathered at a public meeting to discuss the pros and cons of building Tinaroo Dam. There are no buildings - all that can be seen is the Barron River meandering through the valley below.

Step 3 - Interview and Discussion:
Introduce each of the above characters (one at a time) to the audience and talk briefly about their situation and how they feel about the building of the dam. To conclude the activity ask the audience their feelings about the building of the dam. The following questions might be useful in leading the discussion:

"Should we become involved in public debate about the environment?"

"What can we do to influence Government or big business decisions?"

"Is it important to know the facts before we voice our opinions?"