Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 July 2008) . . Page.. 2487 ..
government school, why don’t you allow a non-government school to come in, because we would like there to be a school in our neighbourhood?”
Once again, consultation was undertaken, the clear feedback came from the community and the response from the government was to dismiss it and to give them something they did not want and that they never wanted. You do need to question why they bother to go through these processes for so long when they ignore them consistently. (Time expired.)
MR PRATT (Brindabella) (3.57): A litany of events has proved to the Canberra community that the Stanhope government has failed to adequately consult with the community on major projects. This is not a one-off occurrence. This is habitual behaviour that has resulted in a complete loss of faith and trust by this community in this government.
The power station, of course, is probably the largest example of this failure to consult, and in many respects the starkest! There was no consultation with residents who would have been only hundreds of metres from a power station that could well have emitted dangerous toxins, not to mention significant noise pollution. If residents trusted their local member, Mr Hargreaves, they would continue to believe his learned explanation that the noise generated would have amounted to that of a home air conditioner. In one of his emails to a constituent he states:
Thanks for your email. I would be interested in your views on the new proposal which is to locate the actual large power station…The power modules for the new proposal are 2 x 14 megawatt units …
and so on. Then he says, in the most colourful way:
I am informed that the gas emissions from the new proposal are less than those from a gas fired air conditioning unit in a residential home.
Can you believe, Madam Assistant Speaker, that the emissions from 28 megawatts—if you believe that all 42 are not going to be switched on—would amount to no more than an air-conditioning unit in a home? That is the sort of so-called consultation that is actually a deliberate mislead. The only problem here is that the person he was misleading happened to be an environmental scientist. He was well and truly caught out there.
Of course, the fundamental failure to consult goes to the nine public notices issued by a variety of government agencies and ActewAGL from October 2007 to April 2008, only one of which was very specific in detailing the actual proposed site mentioned in the Canberra Times story of 20 December 2007, which did, in fact, mention a site west of the Monaro Highway. Every other notice talked about Hume in general. It is no wonder that 330 people turned up on 28 April—only seven days, by the way, before the initial ACTPLA feedback consultation process was due to close, and a significant number by any measure in this town—to express total ignorance about a $2,000 million gas-fired project with 210 megawatts of output emitting 255 microcells per metric tonne—one half of one per cent below the national standard. Talk about flying by the seat of your pants, Mick—a project of that size located