An Environment Effects Statement (EES) is the most rigorous environmental impact assessment process in Victoria. It is part of the required assessment and approvals process for the project –VNI West cannot proceed without approval from State and Federal Government.

The EES process is administered by the Department of Transport and Planning (DTP) on behalf of Victoria’s Minister for Planning under the Environment Effects Act 1978.

The EES process is used to assess projects that have the potential to significantly affect the environment. It supports transparent, rigorous and integrated consideration of potential adverse effects that inform approval decisions.

The Minister for Planning makes the decision on whether a project must complete an EES. Not every project will need to complete an EES, but it is common for large projects of many different types.

You can see the range of projects currently undertaking an EES on the DTP website.

Work is ongoing to identify the route for the transmission project - this includes technical and engineering studies, as well as consultation with landholders and the community.

TCV has identified a draft corridor for the project, averaging around 2km wide. We are working to narrow this down to a preferred easement which will be around 100m wide.

Currently we are undertaking preliminary survey works to help us understand the current state of environmental values. The studies are important to help inform the scope of the EES, and all findings will be reviewed by the independent TRG once appointed.

As part of the EES we will undertake more detailed technical studies which also assess potential impacts and mitigations.

Communities will have the opportunity to provide input into the EES process. There are formal opportunities -submission can be made to the Department at various times in the process. TCV will also continue with community consultation, sharing information of the studies underway and listening to feedback. The final alignment for transmission will not be confirmed until the EES process has been completed.

A Technical Reference Group (TRG) will be appointed by DTP to provide advice throughout the process.

Agencies invited to participate in the TRG will include representatives from government agencies, regional authorities, municipal councils, and Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs).

Once the TRG is set up they will establish a timeline for the EES process, and we will have a better idea of when a draft scoping requirements document will be finalised and available for public comment. This consultation process will be managed by the Department of Transport and Planning, and submissions can be made through the Engage Victoria website. TCV will provide further information directly on this process once timing is clear - including through local paper advertising.

There is a very comprehensive, regulated process that we must follow, which starts with the draft scoping requirements and confirmation by the Minister of the studies and assessments that are required.

TCV will then undertake a program of expert studies and assessments on a range of matters, which are likely to include cultural and historic heritage, economic benefits, social and community considerations, environment, agriculture bushfire risk. Once we prepare the EES, there will be a public submissions process and likely public hearings. The information then goes to the Minister to make a final decision. We expect this process to take around two years.

The process is laid out in a fact sheet on our website.

A Technical Reference Group will be appointed by the Minister for Planning to provide advice throughout the EES. The detail of what will be included in the EES is laid out in the scoping requirements. The draft scoping requirements for the EES will be developed by the Department of Transport in consultation with TCV and the TRG and will be available for public comment prior to review and signoff by the Minister.

An EES generally will outline:

  • Project rationale and objectives
  • Location, technology, and design of project components
  • Site characteristics and surroundings
  • Affected communities, properties, and residences, and potential impacts
  • Methods to avoid or mitigate environmental effects
  • Program and timelines for the project
  • Methods for project execution

To assist in identifying impacts and values, TCV will undertake a range of technical studies and field surveys.

Please see our fact sheet for more information.

The VNI West project was referred to the Commonwealth Environment Minister to consider whether approval is required under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999. The Minister confirmed in June 2024 that VNI West is a ‘Controlled Action’ requiring assessment and approval under the EPBC Act and will be assessed under the assessment bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments.