Approvals Process and Scoping Requirements
On 28 December 2020, the Victorian Minister for Planning determined that the Gas Terminal Project will require an Environmental Effects Statement (EES) under the Environment Effects Act 1978, the most rigorous and integrated environmental impact assessment process in Victoria. Read the Minister’s Reasons for Decision here.
The EES process also provides the community with an opportunity to provide feedback on the Project as the EES develops and throughout the EES process.
More information about the EES process is on the Victorian Government’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) website.
In January the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment determined that the Project will require assessment and approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) due to the potential for significant impact on the Port Phillip Bay (Western Shoreline) Ramsar site, listed migratory species, and listed threatened species and ecological communities.
The EES will be the accredited assessment process for the purpose of the EPBC Act under a Bilateral Assessment Agreement between the Commonwealth and Victorian governments.
The matters to be investigated and documented in an EES are set out in the 'scoping requirements.' These have been drafted by DELWP, following input from Viva Energy and other regulatory agencies. The draft scoping requirements are now available for public comment from 26 April 2021 until 17 May 2021.
Technical Reference Group
A Technical Reference Group (TRG) has been convened by DELWP and met for the first time on February 24th 2021. The main role of the TRG is to review the draft scoping requirements and the draft EES, including the design and adequacy of EES technical studies, and provide feedback to the project team and DELWP.
The TRG members represent several state government agencies, in addition to representatives from the City of Geelong, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority and Wadawurrung Traditional Owners. The group will meet regularly and provide expertise and advice throughout the EES process. The TRG will initially focus on DELWP Impact Assessment’s preparation of draft scoping requirements for the EES, advising on the matters that should be investigated, evaluation of project development options, design of project elements and mitigation measures.
The EES is an assessment process to provide authoritative advice to statutory decision-makers. These decisions are on hold until the Minister’s assessment is made and considered. Once this decision is made, the key Victorian statutory decisions for the Gas Terminal will include:
- Planning approval under the Planning and Environment Act 1987
- EPA Works Approval under the Environment Protection Act 2017
- An approved cultural heritage management plan under the Aboriginal Heritage Act, 2006
- Consent under the Marine and Coastal Act 2018 works on marine and coastal Crown land
- Major Hazard Facility (MHF) licence for the Floating Gas Terminal under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
- Licence under the Pipelines Act 2005