The project is subject to an Environment Effects Statement (EES), the most rigorous environmental impact assessment process in Victoria. The EES is still in its early stages of preparation.
The EES process provides an integrated and thorough investigation of potential environmental impacts and provides the community with an opportunity to review and provide feedback as the project design develops.
The Planning Minister’s assessment of the EES gives decision-makers (such as other Ministers and statutory authorities) the information they need to determine whether approvals should be granted and what conditions should apply.
What’s happening now
To prepare the EES, we’re undertaking environmental investigations to understand potential impacts from the project and identify how they can be avoided, minimised or managed, including through the route selection.
This includes technical investigations into a range of factors including visual impacts, farming practices and land use. We are also considering undergrounding in accordance with the EES scoping requirements, including full undergrounding and partial undergrounding.
To ensure we fully understand the existing conditions and environmental sensitivities of the land for the EES, we need to access properties within the corridor to conduct surveys and understand how properties are used so we can try to avoid and mitigate impacts as much as possible. These studies include ecology, historical and Aboriginal cultural heritage, geotechnical, land use, and visual and landscape amenity.
Our land liaison team have been contacting landholders over the past month to discuss this process and to mitigate the interruption of these surveys to their property, lifestyle, farming operations and livestock.
Opportunities for input
There will be many opportunities for landowners and the community to provide further input as the EES process progresses.
We’re holding community engagement sessions soon with technical experts and WVTNP team members, and these sessions are being widely advertised. To ensure that we can run the sessions efficiently, safely meet COVID requirements, and give everyone an opportunity to meet with the team, we have an online booking system.
Planning, design, assessment and decisions about approvals for this project will continue until approximately mid-2023.
If you have any questions about the EES process or the project generally, please contact our dedicated team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1300 360 795.