TCV has referred the VNI West project to the Victorian Minister for Planning to determine whether an Environment Effects Statement (EES) will be required for the project.

In parallel with this state process, the project has also been referred to the Commonwealth Environment Minister to decide if approval is required under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The EES is the most rigorous assessment of the environmental impact of a project in Victoria and would require a wide range of environmental and technical studies.

These studies would assess the effects and potential impacts of the project on a range of matters, including cultural and historic heritage, economic benefits, social and community considerations and the environment.

The EES is a Victorian regulatory process overseen by the Department of Transport and Planning (DTP).

Once the Minister’s decision on VNI West has been received, and if it is determined that an EES is required, a detailed scope of works will be developed by TCV with input from relevant agencies as well as communities across the project area.

Landholders and community members would have the opportunity to provide feedback on the EES study program before the scoping requirements are finalised.

The EES studies would be undertaken by independent experts with input from TCV and overseen by a Technical Reference Group appointed by the Minister for Planning to provide advice throughout the EES process.

Ultimately an independent advisory panel appointed by DTP would review all submissions to the EES and make a recommendation to the Minister as to whether the VNI West project would have an acceptable impact on the environment.

The EES would run over several years, concurrent with the ongoing work to narrow the current draft corridor to a final transmission easement between 70m and 120m wide.

The EES referral can be found on the DTP website.