EES/Planning Process

Planning Approval Process

This page is to help guide the community through the various stages of the planning process for the Golden Plains Wind Farm.

As the process continues, this page will be updated with relevant information, including maps, photomontages, the project planning application and ways the community can provide feedback about the project to an Independent Planning Panel, which will be appointed by the Victorian Planning Minister.

It will also contain documents and information relating to the Environment Effects Statement process as well as the controlled action under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act.

For an overview of the Golden Plains Wind Farm project click here

If you have any issues, concerns or feedback please call WestWind’s Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Paige Ricci, on (03) 5421 9944 or email ricci@w-wind.com.au

What is the Status of the Project?

In July 2017, WestWind Energy lodged environmental referrals with the Federal Government and the Victorian Government.

Federal and state referral agencies then made a determination that the Golden Plains Wind Farm will now go through a bilateral State EES process and a controlled action under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act (EPBC).

In making the decision that an EES would be required, the Victorian Minister for Planning advised that the project has the potential to effect critically endangered native vegetation communities and species listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The Minister also indicated that there could be the potential for other effects on the environmental and social setting, including surface water, ground water, noise, and traffic impacts.

In August 2017, WestWind Energy submitted its planning application for the project with the State Government which will be processed and reviewed alongside the EES.

Public comment is now being sought on the draft scoping requirements for the Golden Plains Wind Farm. To have your say or to find out more about the EES process go to the government’s website by clicking here.

What is an Environment Effects Statement?

An Environment Effects Statement (EES) is a document prepared by the proponent (WestWind Energy) of the project.

The EES describes the potential environmental effects of a proposed project, assesses relevant alternatives and outlines how the proponent proposes to manage environmental effects. The EES process is administered by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).

DELWP coordinates the process, implementing the Ministerial Guidelines that set out the processes and requirements under the Environment Effects Act 1978.

If a project requires assessment under both the Environment Effects Act and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, the relevant process can be accredited under the new Assessment Bilateral Agreement between the Commonwealth and Victoria.

The Golden Plains Wind Farm will be accredited under the bilateral agreement, which means that WestWind Energy will not have to undertake two separate assessment processes, minimising duplication and saving time.

The matters to be investigated and documented in an EES are set out in the ‘scoping requirements’ issued by the Minister. Draft scoping requirements are prepared following input from WestWind Energy and other agencies including: Department of Environment Land Water and Planning, Golden Plains / Colac Otway Shire, Corangamite Catchment Authority, Aboriginal Victoria, EPA Victoria, Southern Rural Water, and VicRoads.

A Technical Reference Group, with members from the aforementioned government agencies is appointed to provide advice to WestWind Energy and DELWP during the preparation of the EES.

Consultation will be undertaken with the local community and stakeholders to identify issues of concern and potential effects, as well as get feedback from stakeholders on project options or potential mitigation measures.

Members of the public can also participate in the EES process by providing written comments on the draft scoping requirements and the final EES. When the Minister is satisfied that the EES is suitable, it is released for public comment for between 20 and 30 business days. During this time, the public can make written submissions.

Read more about the EES process in Victoria.

Note: The EES assessment is not an approval process. The process enables statutory decision-makers to determine whether a project with potentially significant environmental effects should proceed.