Mismanagement of the EES process
As the proponents, the Shire was required to form a Steering Committee. It included a Project Manager, Shire Councilor, and Shire staff, along with two members of the local Mallacoota Ocean Access Committee (MOAC) who are the lobbyists for a large-scale development. No members of environmental or community groups were invited to be on the Steering Committee despite raising concern over the bias – according to the Shire Council, membership was restricted to government departments and those who had or would make a financial contribution to the EES.
MOAC has not been able to raise the $30,000 of community funds it was required to contribute to the EGSC for undertaking the EES. Despite the fact that MOAC had not raised the funds by the due date of June 2005, it still maintained its status as the sole community representation on the Steering Committee. The Shire Council allowed this, because MOAC obtained a statement by an anonymous guarantor that they would meet the balance, which at the time of guarantee was $ 22,000.
As part of the Assessment Guidelines, the EGSC was required to undertake community consultation with the various studies and to determine the scope and scale of the development. The state government directed in 2000 that the EES process be ‘transparent and rigorous’. The community has been highly critical of the insufficient, often inappropriate and untimely means of community consultation. Furthermore, information supplied at consultation meetings has been disregarded or misconstrued.