Planning & Approvals
OSMI is committed to maintaining open and transparent communication around the Delburn Wind Farm. This includes:
- Publishing the results of technical assessments as they become available
- Progress updates
- How to make a complaint
- Predicted operational impacts including noise and visual impacts
2/06/2020 OSMI have re-lodged their EPBC Act referral with the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE) with a correction to the original clerical error (draft Matters of NES report). The referral was re-submitted on 02/06/2020. The Department will make the referral available for public viewing after their initial validation process.
The documents submitted as part of the original EPBC Act referral (2020/8612) are included in the referral, as well as an Addendum containing additional information in response to requests for further information from DAWE following their review and matters raised in public submissions. The original documents submitted are unchanged, except that the Draft Matters of National Environmental Significance report has been updated to Final. All changes and additional information are contained in the Addendum.
The documents submitted include:
– Final Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES)- this report specifically addresses the nine Matters of National Environmental Significance which the EPBC Act refers to, and how the project will or won’t impact them.
– Draft Existing Conditions Report – this report is a desktop study providing context around the study area. It guides the next stage of investigations for both the MNES and the Biodiversity Assessment, by highlighting potential environmental sensitivities in the area, and points to surveys that need to be done and how the project can adapt to avoid and minimise impacts to the environment. The Biodiversity Assessment is a broader report looking at all aspects of the environment. including National significance (included in the MNES), state, regional and native vegetation removal. Only the national issues are relevant to the EPBC submission. Other environmental issues are looked at in other developmental approval processes.
– Community Engagement Summary for 2019
– OSMI Environmental Policy
– EPBC Act Addendum Report – this report has been prepared to provide additional information and detail regrading the MNES. It has been prepared separately for ease of access to the additional information.
Apart from minor corrections, dates, etc, the referral form also contains the same information.
DAWE have confirmed that submissions received as part of the original EPBC Act referral (2020/8612) for the project will be considered in its assessment of the revised referral.
On 15/05/2020, due to a number of concerns raised by residents in regards to the EPBC referral documentation and in consultation with the Department, OSMI withdrew it’s initial referral under the EPBC Act and will resubmit. OSMI will notif the public of re-submission date via this page, it’s Facebook page and e-news, and put the submitted documents on our website.
14/05/2020 – Our referral to the Minister for Planning, as required under the Environmental Effects Act 1978, for the Delburn Wind Farm has just been posted on the Victorian government planning web site. This referral provides the Minister for Planning with preliminary information on the environmental impacts of our project to allow him to make a decision as to whether or not to require an Environmental Effects Statement to be completed. The referral can be found here: https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/env…/referrals-and-decisions
30/04/2020 – Our referral under the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 is now open for public comment. Follow this link to view the referral. The purpose of the referral process is to determine whether or not a proposed action will have a significant impact on any Matters of National Significance, and would therefore require formal assessment and approval under the EPBC Act. For more information on the process, please click here. The referral will be open for comment until 14/05/2020.
The EPBC referral is just the first in a series of planning and environmental approval steps required for the project. The EPBC referral refers to the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) and allows the federal government to make an assessment as to whether the project is a ‘controlled matter’ under the Federal legislation – that is to say, whether the project is likely to have a significant impacts on any Matters of National Environmental Significance. These include matters such as nationally significant animals, plants, habitats and heritage.
More information on the EPBC Act referral process can be found here https://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/publications/factsheet-submitting-referral-under-epbc-act and here https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/d60cdd6a-8122-473a-bbd0-d483662cef3e/files/assessment-process_1.pdf
In addition to this federal legislation, we are also required to submit a referral to the State government of a similar nature. The relevant State Government legislation is the Environment Effects Act (1978). A referral is submitted which provides details of the project and its potential impacts on the environment, and the government then decides whether the project will require an Environment Effects Statement (EES) – a report which goes into greater detail about the potential environmental impacts of the project. An EES helps the government to then decide whether the project should proceed. We have recently submitted our EE Act referral to the Victorian government for determination of whether the project will require an EES or follow a planning permit application process.
More information on the EES process can be found at https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/environment-assessment/what-is-the-ees-process-in-victoria
Following the outcome of these two environmental referrals, the next stage in the process will be to submit our application for a planning permit under the Victorian planning scheme (or EES, if that pathway is determined by the Minister for Planning). The responsible authority for a wind farm under both pathways is the Minister for Planning. There is a significant amount of documentation that needs to be put together for the application, including project description, project design and details about any potential impacts to the environment and specifically environmental matters of state or regional significance. A number of supporting documents are also supplied, including the technical assessments we have conducted on noise, visual impact, traffic, economic impact, biodiversity, bush fire risk, etc, which can be found on our website on the planning page. We are in the process of updating the preliminary reports to final reports, reflecting any changes that have been made to the project through our iterative development process (eg, updating reports to reflect new 33 turbine layout, detailing the ways in which we have minimised vegetation removal).
We are still aiming to lodge our planning permit application in late June (at the earliest). Once lodged, the process is as follows – timelines can vary.
- The documentation is submitted to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). The Minister for planning is the responsible authority. Some aspects of the project, for example, native vegetation removal along public roads, may require us to lodge planning applications with local councils. The Minister will usually ‘call them in’ to assess the overall impact of the project as a whole.
- Validation – the department will assess the information obtained in the documentation and verify whether they need more information from us
- Formal referrals – the department will send information out to the relevant official referral agencies for each relevant area of impact assessment
- Community submissions – the application will be made open for public submissions. This is the time when the public has the chance to provide feedback on the project. It will be well advertised.
- Panel hearing –a panel hearing will be announced. This will most likely be held locally, to allow the community to attend. The duration of the panel hearing will depend on the number of submitted that wish to present to the panel, and normally runs for 2-3 weeks.
- Deliberation and decision – the panel will deliberate on the proceedings prepare a recommendations report to the Minister for Planning.
- Minister’s decision, which will take into account the findings of the panel and determine whether to grant a planning permit or not. There may be conditions associated with a permit.
Preliminary Technical Assessments
OSMI is releasing the preliminary impact assessments that are informing the project design prior to any formal planning permit application(s) to provide transparency to the community through this early stage of project development. Note that the preliminary assessments are referencing the Revised Design for the project (covering up to 35 wind turbines) and the project design is likely to change prior to a formal planning application. As such, the assessment outcomes may change as the assessments are progressed from a preliminary stage to final assessment reports.
- Preliminary Biodiversity Assessment – click here to view the summary report, and here to view the full report
- Matters of National Environmental Significance – click here to view the report
- Preliminary Noise Assessment – click here to view the full report, and here for the summary
- Preliminary Shadow Flicker Assessment – click here to view the full report, and here for the summary
- Preliminary Traffic Impact Assessment – click here to view the full report
- Preliminary Economic Impact Assessment – click here to view the full report, and here for the summary
- Preliminary Electromagnetic Interference Impact Assessment – click here to view the full report
- Preliminary Bushfire Risk Assessment – click here to view the summary report, and here to view the full report
- Preliminary Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment – click here to view the full report; here for Appendix A, the photomontages; and here for Appendix B, seen area analysis
- Preliminary Geotechnical Assessment – click here to view the full report
- Aeronautical Impact Assessment – click here to view the full report
- Desktop Assessment for Cultural Heritage Management Plan – click here to view the full report