The VMFRP will get much needed water back onto the Murray River floodplains, preventing further decline of these valuable landscapes. We are proposing to remove existing blockages and build infrastructure like flow regulators, channels and containment banks at nine sites along the Murray in northern Victoria.
The projects sites have already gone through extensive planning but no approval has been granted and construction has not started. We must meet a range of Commonwealth and State statutory approvals before proceeding to construction, including:
In December 2020, the Victorian Minister for Planning confirmed the environmental assessment pathway for the nine sites. This process ensures that projects are subject to a thorough, integrated and transparent assessment of any potential effects on the environment.
The assessment process takes about 18 months and involves scientific reviews and surveys, along with a long period of consultation with Traditional Owners, stakeholders and local communities.
It allows us to be confident about the ecological benefits and set up a monitoring regime to measure and show these benefits over time. The environmental assessment also ensures that we appropriately manage any impacts on the floodplains during construction and operation.
Community consultation and advice is a significant part of this assessment process and will help us to deliver the environmental, cultural and social benefits that are important to us all.
Under a bilateral agreement, the Commonwealth environmental assessments will be completed as part of the Victorian environmental assessment process. The Victorian planning approval and Cultural Heritage Assessment Plans will be completed in tandem.
The Minister’s final assessments of environmental effects will be provided to relevant statutory decision-makers who will then decide whether the proponent can proceed with the project.