Darley Power Fight and our awesome partners, Trail Hiking Australia have been recognised as Key Members of the WVTNP EES Consultation Stakeholder Groups. Darley power Fight is a member of the Community Stakeholder group while Trail Hiking Australia has joined the Special Interest Stakeholder Group. With direct access to the Project team, we are in a position to be better informed and provide valuable feedback throughout the preparation of the EES and Draft Planning Scheme Amendment.
What this means is we will be participating in face-to-face fortnightly meetings with members of the WVTNP team. These meetings will take place in Darley or via zoom (depending on our needs) and will be a forum where AusNet Services can inform us about the Project, Draft Planning Scheme Amendment and EES investigations. We had our first 2-hour meeting on Friday, 30 April 2021.
It will also be a forum where we can provide valuable feedback throughout the preparation of the EES and Draft Planning Scheme Amendment to identify and address issues of concern and importance for our communities, provide insight from local knowledge on existing conditions, and convey concerns around potential impacts and appropriate mitigation or management measures.
Given the sheer volume of community members our collective groups represent (in excess of 8,000), and the vast cumulative environmental effects on our region, we are confident we will have the ability to influence decisions made for the WVTNP.
We will be working hard to ensure all our concerns are addressed but if you have a specific question you want us to ask, please let us know.
In August 2020, the Victorian Minister for Planning announced that the Western Victoria Transmission Network Project requires an Environment Effects Statement (EES) under the Environment Effects Act 1978 (EE Act). In September 2020, the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment determined that the project requires assessment and approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The EES process is accredited to assess impacts on matters of national environmental significance (MNES) under the EPBC Act through the Bilateral Assessment Agreement between the Commonwealth and the State of Victoria. The Commonwealth Minister or delegate will decide whether the project is approved, approved with conditions or refused under the EPBC Act, after having considered the Minister for Planning’s assessment under the EE Act.
A Technical Reference Group convened by DELWP, comprising statutory decision-makers and subject matter experts from government, will meet regularly during the development of the EES and review and comment on documents. During this period the community and interested stakeholders will also be provided with project and EES updates and opportunities to provide feedback. Community and stakeholder feedback will be considered by specialists completing the EES assessments and in ongoing refinement of the project design. At the end of the EES process the Minister provides a final assessment of the environmental effects and recommendations to the statutory decision-makers for them to consider when deciding whether to provide an approval and what conditions should be attached to the approval. Further information on the EES process and Ministerial assessment can be found on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) website.