Daily updates from DANNY DESAL broadcasting from the INQUIRY in Pakenham
Before Danny starts on the exciting proceedings of today he thought he might just say
DON’T FORGET WATERSHED DAY TOMORROW - WEDNESDAY 29/OCTOBER
Danny getting lonely!
The first witness was Hansen Partnerships who said that the landscape and visual impacts have not been suitably resolved and the EES doesn’t value the impact highly enough particularly if there is already Significant Landscape Overlays (SLO) in place and the ERM report is unbalanced and is biased towards development. Well Danny nearly fell over, surely the highly paid consultants by the Government wouldn’t favour their clients!!!! Never heard of such thing! The barrister type questioning of the witnesses is quite intriguing with the questions around the use of words to create impressions. Isn’t that what everyone is doing???
But wait, the light bulb has just gone on over Danny’s head - Cardinia Shire is pushing for the gas plant co-located on the site whereas the PGOG is pushing for more analysis to be completed and to underground from the grid. The PGOG understands that a gas plant on-site will still likely need to be connected to the grid and hence the issue of power lines comes up again but Cardinia just want it out of their Shire and seem to think that all their problems will be solved by the gas plant on-site. Danny is getting a little tired of using this expression but can’t find anything better - HOW NIMBY CAN YOU GET! But the proponent didn’t let them get away with it and emphatically hit the point that it would be highly likely that there would also be a power connection from the gas power plant back into the grid!
Same problem for Cardinia, different date!
You may or may not agree with me but this is a very very shortsighted and insular view. It’s basically saying we don’t care about the environment and other people in other shires we just want to look after ourselves. Now if anyone reading this is a resident of Cardinia Shire then Danny thinks you should be telling your Council that this is a really shallow and selfish perspective. Danny doesn’t want to upset people but, aren’t we all in this together?? Don’t we all care about the overall environmental impact of this or just the part that affects us directly?
The next expert talked about planning principles and the Planning & Environment Act and how it should relate to the terms of this Inquiry even though it has been convened under the Environment Effects Act. It’s all a bit legalistic but some quite valid points were raised about just how rigorous (or lack thereof) the assessments have been in this regard JUST as they relate to the area covered by the Cardinia Shire. But he did admit that the decision to build the desal plant will leave a lasting legacy and that when it comes to the delivery of water, “at what cost?” (Danny thinks he has heard that expression before!!!)
Danny also thinks that when someone says you don’t need good legal representation in the EES process - IGNORE THEM! This is as much a legal battle and use of language to ensure the panel members understand what they have been instructed to do by the Government and its not their role to evaluate Goverment policy, in this case, water policy. The QC’s for the Government certainly grilled the expert witnesses put up by Cardinia and will no doubt do the same for Watersheds expert and others. Let me just say that Chris Townsend SC put their expert under considerable vigorous questioning and when looking at the Inquiry members you have to wonder what impact it has. Danny not sure if its positive or not but I did get the real impression from Ms Mitchell’s comments that they are looking at a much broader set of issues and the proponent should not try to confine them.
Cardinia then went on to put forward a cost comparison of the various power options which Danny doesn’t have the expertise to go into any detail on. Doesn’t matter really as ultimately it will come down to what is the most acceptable bid put in and we won’t see it anyway as no doubt it will be “commercial in confidence”!!! I guess their real push is to get the Inquiry to recommend that much more work needs to be done to work through the power options and if that delays the project well Danny might get happier with them.
Guess what - Cardinia told everyone they won’t be in attendance until the closing day! What a surprise!!!!
That’s all folks and look forward to a positive day on Watersheds day on Wednesday.