In December 2020, the Minister for Planning determined that the floodplain restoration work proposed at Lindsay and Wallpolla Islands and at Hattah Lakes North and Belsar-Yungera would each be assessed under a joint environment effects statement (EES).
The remaining five sites are being assessed under two environment reports (ER); one for the work proposed at Nyah and Vinifera Forests and Burra Creek and one for Guttrum and Benwell State Forests and the Gunbower National Park.
What is an EES/ER?
The EES process is Victoria’s most rigorous, transparent and comprehensive process for assessing the potential environmental impacts of large-scale projects, and how those effects will be managed during construction and operation.
An environment report (ER) is a targeted assessment that can be used if an EES is not deemed necessary and where the elements that require further assessment are well defined. The need and scope for the ER is set out in the conditions of the Minister’s decision of a referral. This process allows for specific investigations and/or consultations be carried out but is not as complex as an EES.
The EES process is most commonly used for big infrastructure and transport projects like the North East Link and the West Gate Tunnel project. These projects offer many societal benefits but can have big environmental impacts which need to be thoroughly assessed before going ahead.
While our floodplain restoration work will have some short-term environmental impacts, it is expected to substantially improve the health of our floodplain ecosystems, protecting these valuable landscapes for generations to come. This work will also benefit river communities who can continue to enjoy their local spaces.
What is being investigated?
Sixteen specialist investigations are now under way to assess potential impacts to areas such as biodiversity and habitats, water quality, cultural heritage, social, economic and amenity impacts, and waterway use and infrastructure.
The matters to be investigated and documented in an EES or ER are set out in the scoping requirements developed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and released in July 2021.
The scoping requirements also address impacts related to Commonwealth approvals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) due to the potential for impacts on matters of national environmental significance.
Download the scoping requirements:
The EES scoping requirements went through a public exhibition on the Engage Victoria website earlier this year.
The scoping requirements for ERs are not released for public comment.
Read the VMFRP environment assessment referrals and reasons for the chosen assessment pathways.
Learn more about the EES process in Victoria or download a fact sheet explaining the different steps in the EES process.