16 September 2009

Barr uses call-in powers to approve Cotter Dam DA

| RiotPost
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Andrew BarrAndrew Barr, wearing his hat as Minister for Planning, has used his call-in powers to approve the Cotter Dam Development Application (DA).

The Planning Minister has published a media release here but of note should be these sentences:

“While I have made the final decision I have done so on the expert and independent advice of ACTPLA, as I am required to do under law.

This DA has been assessed by ACTPLA just like any other, except that in this case I have made the final decision.

The assessment of the DA has taken into account extensive environmental studies and assessments.

The key difference is not in the assessment but in what can happen next.

Had ACTPLA been the final decision maker, the decision could be appealed and the project delayed.

A decision made by the Minister for Planning is not open to such delays.”

So it seems the Minister is attempting to assure the public that the DA would have been approved by ACTPLA but due to its importance he used his call-in powers to avoid another GDE type on-going legal appeal process.

The project itself is expected to “enlarge the Cotter Dam from 4 gigalitres to 78 gigalitres, increasing total storage capacity for the ACT region by 35 per cent.”

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Notwithstanding the merits or otherwise of the particular DA on the table, I’d suggest the expression ‘call-in powers’ really means ‘fait accompli’. When it goes to that step we all know it means its going to happen – no quibbling allowed. So why go through the charade, and waste time and money. Just get the minister to announce a stock “yep, it’s a go’er” as soon as it hits his desk. So much simpler.

Bloody Fantastic, It’s about tme that this Govt used these sort of powers to ensure that another debacle like the GDE doesn’t occur again.

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