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Barr Knows Best?

By Skidbladnir 26 August 2009 32

Who knows how to ensure that a major project is developed in accordance with 467 seperate Sections of ACT Law better than a man who has worked in the private sector as an account manager, media analyst and salesperson, and also former parliamentary adviser and Chief of Staff to a Labor Minister?


Apparently, with more 270 staff working for ACT Planning & Land Authority, the organisation still can’t be trusted to arrive at a reasonable decision on the single largest piece infrastructure the ACT has seen in years, so the Cotter Dam expansion has been called in by the Minister, Andrew Barr.

Who knew we had elected such sage and learned folk to the Assembly?

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32 Responses to
Barr Knows Best?
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imhotep 10:30 pm 03 Sep 09

I reckon they’ll end up going for a ‘GDE solution’. Build one side of the wall now, put some wacky artwork on top of it, and build the other half when they can flog off a bit more land.

Hey, it’s worked before!

Thumper 6:59 pm 03 Sep 09

We’ll probably end up with some half arsed dam something akin to the the GDE.

RayP 2:37 pm 03 Sep 09

I have not been following this issue so my “comments” are questions.

Does the increase in cost of the Cotter Dam expansion change the ranking of the options – the comparative benefit-cost analysis?

What else could be done with $363 million rather than $120 million?

I am also wondering where the water is going to come from to fill the expanded dam. The basic problem seems to be that there is less water falling out of the sky.

Or is this not a problem in the Cotter catchment? Or is this more of a problem if the dam expansion costs $363 million?

Clown Killer 2:25 pm 03 Sep 09

I doubt that they really had second thoughts Housebound. The cabinet submission would have discussed a range of options with proceeding as planned with a bigger budget the most palatable. A massive amount of work (and money) has already been expended on the project – that’s a hard investment to walk away from.

The bit that I find amusing is that the people actually tasked with building the thing never thought that it would cost less than $360 Million – even back when ACTEW and the Stanhope government were bandying about the $120 Million budget. The Government had to blink because the partners in the Bulk Water Alliance were starting to pack their desks, having no intention of committing to a project that was (publically at least) so massively underfunded.

housebound 1:08 pm 03 Sep 09

I hadn’t thought of it like that, but it was a big enough increase for ACTEW to think twice about proceeding – and the initial estimate, by ACTEW’s own admission – left a lot of things out. I wonder how the other tenderers might respond to this (in their thoughts, if not in deed).

Before jumping to any conclusions, I reckon they should release any analysis to show the benefit-cost, because it must now be at least less attractive, if not marginal (or they wouldn’t have had second thoughts).

Thumper 12:26 pm 03 Sep 09

The project was first estimated to cost $120 million but in June ACTEW indicated it could reach $246 million.

Now they say the final price tag will be $363 million.

Clown Killer 11:13 am 03 Sep 09

It’s interesting to see that ACTEW have now gone public with what they believe to be a more accurate estimate of the cost of the enlarged cotter dam: $360 Million apparently.

Woody Mann-Caruso 5:45 pm 27 Aug 09

Sorry Clown Killer – I should’ve been more clear. I wasn’t referring to any of your posts (I agree with you wholeheartedly on this matter) but to Skid.

Thoroughly Smashed 5:08 pm 27 Aug 09

Ooh, quoting Clarkson when you “criticise” the environmental movement cuts right to the bone!

housebound 5:07 pm 27 Aug 09

The trouble with waiting for an election for any sort of accountability is just that – our elected leaders need to be accountable all the time.

This is the point of having a parliament, with any luck, the non-government parties can overrule the government before it does too many stupid things that hurt communities.

Making communities wait for four years befor undoing any damage might not be enough for the people who have to live with the consequences. For example, should David Hicks have had to wait for an imminent election to be returned to Australia, or do you think it would have been better to let him back (or not) on the basis of merit years earlier?

Sometimes I convince myself that democracy is not really all we make it out to be, but that’s another story.

But back to the dam – even if it is a massive fail, then you can be sure that, given the scale of the project, it won’t come out in the next election and, even if it did, this labor town won’t vote too many of those labor pollies out.

Clown Killer 2:13 pm 27 Aug 09

Oh something’s definitely going to go wrong WMC. As I mentioned earlier the construction and engineering outfits involved in the project are convinced that there’s not a chance in hell that it can be built for $200 million.

But in terms of leading a lynch mob – you’ve got the wrong man. Once every four years is ample an opportunity to cast judgement on our civic leaders. If the issue is still hot at the next election then it will be reflected at the ballot box, if not then I guess the whole thing will just be another example of sort of eco-mentalist nonsense subscribed to by so many dimwits in this town.

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