Daily updates from DANNY DESAL broadcasting from the INQUIRY in Pakenham
Danny growing weary! Thank goodness today was the final day of witness statements and presentations by the Government as think the plan by the Government is to simply wear us all down so we’ll throw our hands in the air and scream “enough already do what you like”!!!
But Danny says NO WAY your not going to wear us down. Maurice has also been a steady member of the audience every day and asking some great questions to keep them on their toes. The presentations today ran the spectrum of electromagnetic fields (EMF) from the power routes, the social impacts and the so-called economic benefits of the plant, pipe, power of the local, regional and state and finally on waste management assessment. Danny will tell you up front that the waste presentation excludes the saline discharge and any decommissioning of the plant as that apparently isn’t important or required for an EPA Works Approval! Let’s just worry about that later shall we, let’s leave that for the kids to work out when they will have to deal with it!
Danny also surprised to hear that the discussion on the EMF was not about any related health issues but rather the Government “submitted” to the Inquiry that they should approach this issue by satisfying themselves that the current standards applied in Australia are satisfied rather than whether or not the standard is acceptable or not! To make sure no other issue was discussed the expert presenter was also only an ‘expert’ on the electrical engineering angles and could offer no comments on any health issues as he wasn’t qualified. Apparently however magnetic fields vary through the course of the day depending on the load they are carrying and cannot be shielded by trees and buildings but then again perhaps it could be done but it is “typically expensive”.
The economic assessment expert again tried to tell us that “positive” interactions with the community and tourists could be achieved through tourism of the desal plant! What planet are these people on! Also, there will be so much work for local tradespeople involved with the plant that even if locals couldn’t get anyone for their home work then the trades people would want to work weekends to get the extra money so everyone would be happy! Have they tried to get a tradesperson to come on a weekend and be paid normal rates !!!!!!! But despite these claims there was much discussion about the largely temporary nature of the workforce for the plant that would come and go and even the terms “fly in fly out” was used just like a mining town. A construction workers village was mentioned so many times yet the consultants had not been to one anywhere that had been created for such a thing like this.
I don’t know how many times Danny heard that “I’m sure it can all be done if there is proper community engagement and liason and a good plan put in place”? Dear Danny, don’t you know that community engagement is the Governments specialty? We want more more more of it as it’s been such an enjoyable experience.
Danny was also very heartened today by the numerous questions from the Inquiry members about the social impact and they were all the questions we wanted asked and they weren’t taking rubbish answers either! Danny can only hope but today was one of the more uplifting days where Danny didn’t get depressed by the end. Don’t put too much faith in the process however as no matter how good the Inquiry is, it’s still up to the Minister for Planning what, if anything, he accepts from their report.
Well, perhaps there is sunshine coming tomorrow as the Government finished their case today and we start on other groups submissions on Thursday morning and then into the individual submissions. The EPA is on so we’ll see if the Inquiry puts them under the pump re the works approval and waste disposal issues.
Danny dreams on!