Page 1957 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 25 June 2008
Department or Treasury. It seems that the government was blinded by the prospect of a $2 billion investment and this blinded it to its responsibilities to put the health of Canberra residents above the lure of development dollars.
An environmental impact statement, rejected by Mr Mulcahy and Mr Stanhope, is absolutely necessary. I have looked at the report that was commissioned by the proponents, by Hogg and somebody else; I cannot remember the other person’s name. It is interesting that it notes—by the way, as does the final, but apparently not final, Hume industrial planning study—that a lot of care will be needed to look after the endangered yellow box-redgum grassy woodland species affecting the site.
Hogg and his associate concluded that, because the ground cover is somewhat compromised, this particular grassy woodland is not really a worry. Interestingly, another ecologist, Geoff Robinson, saw the same ecological communities and he said that there was a problem. It shows that an ecologist that is hired by the proponent does need at least peer review of their results. That is what would happen in the academy. I do not wish to disparage the work of Mr Hogg and his associate. I am just saying that, out in the real world of science, people seek peer reviews. An environmental impact study would do that. Then we would not have to say, “Oh yeah, but that consultant was chosen because he would say what the proponent wanted.” I do not know that that is the case, but it is possible. So let us also be aware that the other things that were mentioned in the Hume industrial planning study in relation to the environment—
Mr Corbell: If you said that outside this place, you would be sued.
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order!
Mr Corbell: If you said that outside this place you would be subject to a libel action.
DR FOSKEY: Read what I said later on.
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Mr Corbell! I called you to order before.
DR FOSKEY: A precautionary approach would need to be exercised to protect the endangered yellow box-redgum grassy woodland species affecting the site. There is talk of strategic ecological corridors and the establishment and repairing of buffer zones.
It is disappointing that the Chief Minister has not taken this opportunity to acknowledge the failings in this process and the reasonable disquiet felt by large sections of the community. He does not acknowledge the fact that the full power station posed a very real health risk to Tuggeranong residents. He does not acknowledge that the consultation was woeful. He does not acknowledge that the documents the opposition tabled are real. They were created by ACT public servants and they do tell a different story from the one the Chief Minister spun. I fear that the Chief Minister’s instinct to defend himself by attacking the messenger has backfired on him today.