Using the principle of there being no point in having power unless you abuse it this week the New South Wales state government declared (it starts at page 131, interesting the Huntlee development at Cessnock has been declared as well, so why do we have local government if the state does all the approvals?) the Tillegra Dam to be "Critical Infrastructure" under Part 3a of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act. This means that public input into the process is limited and there's no right of appeal, it also means approval is in the hands of the Minister for Planning.
Now as we've seen State Government aren't putting any money into it, the Central Coast (for whom the announcement was originally directed) isn't putting any money into it and neither are developers so it's all going to fall back onto ratepayers in the lower Hunter to finance the $400 million or so project. As well as this it means Dungog Council is going to lose rates revenue meaning they'll be even harder pressed to provide services for ratepayers (and those of us who pass through every now and then), like, umm, better roads, they're already in a shocking condition in many spots and are bound to get worse (another earlier post here).
Now while doing a little background googling for this post I found an interesting page for the modelling of how the whole thing would look, which despite my thoughts on the matter looked pretty cool and then I read down and found this:
"When Hunter Water Australia and the NSW premier's department approached Arterra, the company was given only three days to produce visualizations. The problem was how to create quality visualizations within such a tight timeframe................
...............The end products were provided to the media (television and press) at the announcement of Tillegra dam funding."
Indicating pretty much what we already knew that it was a rush job designed to shore up votes in the last state election.