Another week with no noise from AGL. Perhaps they are too busy celebrating the
fleecing of the Australian public on the way to its record profit…
Some disturbing news was released this week regarding the PAC’s “briefing and
familiarisation tour” of the Narrabri Gas Project, organised by the proponent,
Santos. (http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2017-08- 10/nsw-planning-has-meetings-and- tours-with- santos/8794672?pfmredir=sm)
“Environmental Defenders Office CEO Sue Higginson said close contact by the
commission with a proponent was "arguably controversial in the context of the code
of conduct"… Ms Higginson said the documents have called into question the
independence of PAC, and the Planning Minister must now consider a different
approval process, maintaining merit-based appeal rights for the community…”.
In response to a letter to the Planning Minister, Hon. Anthony Roberts regarding
AGL’s failure to comply with the conditions of its consent, we received a letter
from David Kitto, Executive Director DP&E Resource Assessments, on behalf of
the Minister. This letter suggests that the Department considers that the consent
conditions prescribed by the PAC are not binding on the proponent. Specifically,
it asserts that conditions that have a strict time frame from the date of the
original “approval” (as compared with those that are couched in terms of “prior
to commencement”) were drafted in error by the PAC, saying that “ this drafting
will be corrected if the approval is modified in due course…”. We consider this to
be outrageous and are making our dissatisfaction known.
With panel members being appointed by the Minister, the “independence” of the
PAC has always been questionable. These developments do nothing to instill
faith in the process.