Division stands on the proposed Western Victoria Transmission Network Project –construction and operation of a new, approximately 190-kilometre overhead electricity transmission line.
Starting in Bulgana (via Waubra) the project will connect to Sydenham in Melbourne’s north-west with a new terminal station to be constructed to the north of Ballarat.
The project is planned to be completed by 2025 and has been classed as a ‘critical, state-significant project which will unlock renewable energy resources in western Victoria, helping to deliver affordable and clean energy to Victorians.’
Assessment and approval is needed from State and Federal Governments.
AusNet Services, the project deliverer, through their commercial division Mondo, says it will undertake detailed environmental, heritage and social investigations.
Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle and Member for Melton Steve McGhie have announced that the Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, has notified Mondo, that an Environmental Effects Statement (EES) will be required.
The Minister for Planning determined that an EES is required because the area of interest for the project supports significant environmental values which the project could affect. Also, multiple design and alignment options within the area of interest require rigorous and transparent assessment.
An EES is a rigorous environmental assessment framework for major projects in Victoria where they have the potential to have significant environmental impacts. It enables integrated and transparent consideration of the project and its effects. The EES process provides several avenues for the public to provide feedback.
The EES for this particular project will assess the project’s potential environmental effects in the context of the comparative effects of feasible siting, alignment, design and operational alternatives for key components of the project; and the effectiveness and acceptability of proposed measures to avoid, minimise, manage and offset environmental effects and related risks.
Draft EES scoping requirements will be exhibited for public comment in the coming months with public notice in local and metro newspapers, as well as on the Victorian Government’s Planning website.
During its preparation of the EES, Mondo will prepare and implement an EES Consultation Plan. The consultation plan will provide ways for sharing project information with the community and ways for the community to provide feedback to Mondo.
When the EES has been completed and the Minister is satisfied that it adequately addresses the scoping requirements, it will be exhibited for public comment.
“I’ve met with many members of the community who are concerned about this project and the EES will provide them with an opportunity to participate in a rigorous and independent process of review,” Ms settle said.
“It’s critical that we properly assess the impacts, alignment and design alternatives thoroughly, to avoid or minimise effects on the community and environment.”