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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Basslink process defence

The Mercury: Basslink process defence [27nov05]

BASSLINK underwent the most rigorous examination of any energy project in Australian history, says Hydro Tasmania.

Hydro Tasmania communications officer Helen Brain said the Joint Advisory Panel (JAP) which assessed the $2.3 billion project had conducted an exhaustive process.

"Hydro Tasmania met JAP's exhaustive requirement for information, evidence and the provision of expert witnesses," Ms Brain said.

"As the JAP's recommendation that the project be given approval to proceed was accepted by the Commonwealth, Victorian and Tasmanian jurisdictions, obviously those jurisdictions considered that the JAP had covered all aspects of its task."

Ms Brain said Hydro Tasmania had provided University of Tasmania researcher Ronlyn Duncan with access to information.

"Hydro Tasmania provided her with access to senior managers who talked to her on numerous occasions about the aspects of Basslink in which she was interested," she said. "Where she sought commercial-in-confidence information, that was declined, as it was with other observers and commentators on the project, such as the media."

Ms Brain said Hydro Tasmania was not responsible for the JAP process but had met its requirements.

"If Dr Duncan has issues with the process, then she needs to address them with the JAP but we would be surprised if the JAP concedes her point that it focused on the environmental impacts because it was charged with investigating the social, environmental and economic implications of its task," she said.

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