The NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces declared the NSW section of EnergyConnect as Critical State Significant Infrastructure (CSSI) in August 2019. Under the NSW Environment Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act), all Critical State Significant Infrastructure applications are required to go through a comprehensive assessment process with extensive community involvement.
The assessment process includes:
- Initial project scoping which includes early consultation and the development of a Scoping Report to be submitted to The Department of Planning, Industry & Environment (DPIE). The initial proposal will be assessed and the NSW Planning Secretary will issue the environmental assessment requirements (SEARs)
- Environmental impact assessment includes conducting studies on potential economic, environmental and social impacts that are then documented in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
- EIS exhibition and consultation provides the community an opportunity to learn more about the project and provide feedback via submissions to DPIE
- Assessment report will be developed by DPIE and will take into account the submissions received. It may include requests for further community engagement and recommended conditions of approval
- Project determination will be made by the Minister for Planning based on the merits of the project against the matters set out in the EP&A Act.
More detail about the NSW assessment process can be found at the NSW Planning Portal.
The NSW section of EnergyConnect will be assessed in two sections, with the current status and relevant documentation including Scoping Reports and SEARs available online:
- NSW-Western Section, being from the SA/NSW border to Buronga through to the NSW/Vic border
- NSW-Eastern Section, being from Buronga to Wagga Wagga
This project has been determined as a controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) and will be assessed under the bilateral agreement between the NSW and Commonwealth Governments. Details of the referral determination can be found by searching ‘EnergyConnect’ on the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s Referrals List Portal.