The planning minister’s decision to not suspend the EES consultation process for AGL’s Crib Point gas import facility was extremely disappointing. It appears the minister was either not listening to or was completely ignoring the community’s need for an extension of time due to the COVID-19 lockdowns.

AGL has had two years to compile its EES case, amounting to many thousands of pages, and then a community, unable to come together physically because it has been placed in strict lockdown, by this government, is given by the same government just 40 business days to respond. It is not a fair and proper process and has been designed to be that way.

Both stage 3 and stage 4 pandemic lockdowns have made it impossible for residents to meet face to face and hold working groups or public meetings to discuss this enormous and complex EES and its implications.

When I wrote to the minister in early July, stage 3 restrictions were in force. Under current harsher stage 4 restrictions, there is an even more compelling argument to extend this aspect of the process.

The minister’s decision to proceed with the original 26 August EES deadline has only served to confirm for Crib Point residents, the Andrews government’s involvement in bringing this inappropriate project to their township and its intention to approve it regardless of any findings of the EES.