It is refreshing to see HBRC staff being prepared to change their minds over the additional $43 million spend on the dam. However it does draw into question how they got the issue of consultation so wrong in the first place. One has to wonder how at one meeting a $43 million spend can been seen as insignificant yet at the very next meeting the opposite holds true. After all these are very highly paid individuals making these recommendations and to completely ignore their own Significance and Engagement Policy must bring into question either their competence, or undue outside influence.
As an indication, to my mind the original recommendation from staff had Andrew Newman’s fingerprints all over it. Let us not forget for one moment that Andrew Newman retains responsibility for staff contracts at HBRC meaning they have a sword of Damocles continuously hanging over them. I can’t imagine this is a pleasant situation to be in, and is something that I believe has clearly influenced decisions that should have gone against Andrew Newman’s wishes. How else is this flip flop explained?
Submitted 15 March 2016