FINAL DAY 15 - DON’T SET YOUR EXPECTATIONS TOO HIGH! EXPECT THE WORST AND YOU’LL NEVER BE DISAPPOINTED SHOULD BE OUR MOTO!
Well Danny would like to say that it’s been a pleasure but DANNY WOULD BE SPINNING THE TRUTH and we’ve all had enough of that over the last 18 months. After today, it seems like the last few days of the individual submissions were actually uplifting by comparison! This was a session where firstly the EPA got to tell the Inquiry their final responses to issues raised during the hearings but it didn’t appear like they had done any comparison with the Performance Requirements to say whether they agreed with them or not and hence it became a bit of YES MINISTER yet again.
Ms. Mitchell didn’t let them get away with that however and they have to do the comparison like the Councils have done and come back in the next few days and then again the proponent gets to review them and respond if necessary.
Nevertheless the EPA believes that all the discharge into the ocean will be OK if appropriately managed through the statutory regulations. The EPA role, according to them today is to work through the application, third party comments on that application, the EES process, the Inquiry report, the advice re specific extra information in identified areas, the Independent Expert Group comments & reports and the FINALLY the Ministers assessment. Well Danny just hopes that they can manage all that information better than they seemed to have handled their input (or lack thereof) into the EES!!! Danny not filled with high hopes on this front!
Danny also thinking that another key issue into the near future is whether or not the final design matches the reference project as the EPA clearly said that they will need to make their final assessments at that time and if the final design is different then there is a process for amendments that have ‘tests’ around them and if they aren’t met then the course of action is open to require a new Works Approval. They will also be looking to make sure there is no substantial increase in waste & no detrimental effects to third parties particularly. As a matter of normal practice they evaluate the amendments and use the ‘tests’ to decide whether it is then necessary to inform the community and seek their submissions/consultation on the issues so they can form a final view. We need to watch this very closely next year!
Danny thought he might give you a run down on what was said but quite frankly it was so similar to what has already been proposed by the EES Reference Project that it just doesn’t seem to warrant the energy to do so. It would seem that the proponent’s task at the EES Inquiry is to listen to the concerns and then simply come up with reasons why things can’t be changed on the final day!! Danny has a hardcopy of the statements made by the QC but will ensure it’s up on the website when it becomes available electronically which should be on Monday as they said it would.
Stuart Morris QC did like to tell us that he thought the Bass Coast Council, (Danny says - and by extension ‘the community’) were looking at this whole project with a pessimistic ‘glass half empty’ perspective when really we should be looking at it saying how wonderful it is and from a ‘glass half full’ approach given the excitement and how it will ENERGISE the area!!! Danny thinks he just doesn’t get it or thinks we are just a bunch of whiners but then again he is simply a lawyer and what he thinks, well who would know!
DIFFUSERS DIFFUSERS DIFFUSERS
After again listening to the QC say why Dr Black’s expert evidence was more accurate you would have to conclude that the diffusers on the outake pipes are the absolutely most important part of the $3.1 billion (more like $5 billion) project as they are either going to destroy the marine environment or make the entire project a huge success. Will we ever get to see this information under a PPP which will no doubt have a whole heap of secrecy around the final design or not. But don’t worry, the EPA and all the other government departments are on the job! They will be the ones to monitor everything and to make sure EMPs are enforced in the construction and just about fixing everything except world peace while they are at it!
Danny wonders if they are so good at what they do then why is it we have to have the desal anyway??
If you get a chance have a look through the documents that were tabled by the EPA and the Government at the final day at http://dsedocs.obsidian.com.au/planning/victorian-desalination-project/hearing-documents/ when they are updated in the next couple of days and see what the EPA particularly says about mixing zones etc.
WELL this is Danny signing off from the Inquiry. To say its been a pleasure would be a bit of a lie as it’s been more like having my teeth pulled at the same time as my toe nails pulled out! It was painful from one end to the other of the process!
Danny hopes you have been able to keep even one eye on what’s been going on and they were even the smallest bit helpful in finding out what’s been happening in this mysterious and secretive process. Danny signing off for now and wanted to wish everyone a good rest after this arduous process and to also say how uplifting it was to get the heck out of Pakenham and get to the fabulous and inspiring art exhibition at Dalyston.
All associated with THE GIFT should be congratulated as it warms the soul.
DANNY SAYING ADIEU FOR NOW AND KEEP UP THE FIGHT AS THERE’S STILL A LONG WAY TO GO!
Day 10 - WONDERFUL WATERSHED DID US ALL PROUD TODAY
The Watershed team did a great job in trying to raise so many important issues that MUST be thought about by the Inquiry in their deliberations and we should all feel proud of the community effort that has brought us this far. One has to wonder what would have happened if Your Water Your Say and Watershed weren’t there speaking out and raising all these issues? (too scary to think about really)
Danny wonders where all the Bass Coast Shire Councilors were?? Not one in attendance today at the Watershed presentations and Danny wonders why they couldn’t show up to support the community group!! If this is as much a political process as an environmental one it would have been helpful for the ‘politicians’ of local government to have supported this group. Some might think this comment is a little unfair but remember, these are Danny’s views and he has the power of the pen!
It was good to see Allan Bawden come down to Pakenham and his attendance and show of support is appreciated by Danny at the very least. Danny noticed also that the EPA visited for the expert witness presentations but then left as did one DSE person but then wandered in and out when Watershed was presenting. Make of that what you will !!
Also great that so many people could make the trip to Pakenham to show their support and that the community deeply cares about the impact of this proposal from many aspects of social impact to marine damage to climate change.
For those that weren’t able to attend Danny has taken copious notes so all can see how the day went and will get them up to the site as soon as possible after tidying them up and taking out the swear words!!
Danny also proud of the individual presenters - Nola Maxfield, Chris Heislers and David Wingfield - who argued both persuasively and emotionally as to what was wrong with both the EES and the desal plant itself. They should be loudly applauded for their efforts by everyone. Their individual presentations will be put up on the website asap for you to see and enjoy or rather dismay at the lack of information available in the EES to address these specific issues. The presentations really did put a human face on Watershed and just how much real and detailed knowledge and expertise is in the local area that will be directly affected and they need to be listened to and given equal weight to in the Inquiry’s deliberations.
Despite considerable barrister type questions Jochen Kaempf did a great job of virtually telling them that there was so much still missing from the ASR evaluations that they were running a ’severe’ risk in going ahead without considerable further modeling and assessment. His report will be made available on the site as soon as we can get it electronically as well.
It’s a short summary today and if you have the time Danny suggest you have a read of the presentations when they are available on the site as that fills you in since it was our day today.
It’s Bass Coast Council day on Thursday at San Remo and Danny is confident they will put up a strong case.
Kathy Mitchell did also make a point of saying how the Panel did value the input from the community and it will be taken seriously and thanked Watershed and its members for their significant contribution as we were an important part of this process. We can only but dream that it carries equal weight when they are writing their report to the Minister !
Danny dares to dream!