Aus Net8304

Connecting wind and solar generated in the state's west to the national electricity grid.

This is a complex project which will be developed over several years with ongoing engagement with landholders, communities, industry and government during that time.

It requires detailed technical investigations, planning and approvals, and a financial investment decision before construction may commence.

Environment Effects Statement

The Western Renewables Link is subject to an Environment Effects Statement (EES), the most rigorous environmental impact assessment process in Victoria.

The EES process is administered by the Department of Transport and Planning (DTP), formerly the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), on behalf of Victoria’s Minister for Planning under the Environment Effects Act 1978.

The purpose of the EES is to ensure that major projects are designed, constructed and operated to minimise adverse environmental and community impacts.

It gives decision-makers (such as Ministers and statutory authorities) the information they need to determine whether approvals should be granted and what conditions should apply.

During the preparation of the EES, we will undertake a range of detailed environmental investigations and publish information relating to existing conditions and impact assessments.

Environment Effects Statement (EES) considerations

EES Wheel Sept 2023

Preliminary EES Information Sheets - Existing Conditions

Understanding the existing conditions within the project area of interest is the first step towards developing the impact assessment reports which will be part of the EES.

We have produced the following Preliminary EES Information Sheets which summarise the existing conditions based on desktops reviews, field surveys and investigations carried out by engineers and scientists.

Environment Effects Statement engagement phases

EES Diagram april 2023

Having your say

An important part of the Western Renewables Link is ongoing engagement with communities and landowners. Community input is critical to all major projects to ensure that all potential impacts and opportunities are considered in the planning, approvals, and design phases.

Get involved

Planning Scheme Amendment

A Planning Scheme Amendment under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 is the primary approval for the project. A Planning Scheme Amendment applies specific controls over the development of the project. A draft Planning Scheme Amendment will be prepared to propose changes to the planning schemes within the project development area and will be exhibited with the EES for public comment.

State approvals

Should the project be approved, several other secondary approvals may be required including:

  • Permit to remove protected flora under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988.
  • Permit to relocate wildlife under the Wildlife Act 1975.
  • Permit to work within or over waterways under the Water Act 1989.

Decisions about whether to grant those approvals may only be made after the respective decision-makers have considered the Minister’s assessment, which is the final outcome of the EES process.

Cultural Heritage Management Plans will be prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 to investigate the potential impacts to Aboriginal cultural heritage and identify how heritage can be best protected. This will be done together with Traditional Owners Groups, Registered Aboriginal Parties and First Peoples - State Relations.

Commonwealth approval

The Commonwealth Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has confirmed that the project is a ‘controlled action’ and will require assessment and approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999. The Commonwealth has determined that it will use the bilateral assessment agreement and rely on the Victorian Government’s assessment process (EES) to inform an approval decision under the EPBC Act 1999.