Andrew 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.”