The Victorian Government has today ruled out a proposal from AGL to establish a gas import terminal at Crib Point in Western Port and to construct an approximately 57-kilometre long pipeline from the terminal to Pakenham.
Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, concluded that marine discharges from the proposed AGL and APA project would have unacceptable effects on the environment in Western Port, which is listed as a Ramsar wetland of international significance.
The decision is based on an Environment Effects Statement (EES) produced by AGL and APA Group, around 6,000 public submissions and a report into the findings of the statement by an independent Inquiry and Advisory Committee (IAC).
In October 2018 the Minister decided an EES was required for the proposal due to its potential for significant environmental effects, particularly on biodiversity – as well as social, amenity, heritage and other values.
The Minister also appointed the IAC to review the EES and consider submissions. A public hearing on the proposal was held by the IAC over 10 weeks from October to December 2020.
The IAC submitted its report to the Minister in late February 2021, in accordance with its terms of reference.
The Minister has provided copies of his assessment to Victorian decision-makers, including the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, EPA and Aboriginal Victoria.
Under the Environment Effects Act, those decision-makers must consider the Minister’s assessment before making decisions about the approvals in their jurisdictions.
The Minister also provided his assessment to the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment, in accordance with an agreement between the Australian and Victorian Governments under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
This morning AGL noted the determination of the Victorian Planning Minister. The company said it is reviewing and considering its position in relation to the determination. An update in relation to the impact on the project is expected to be provided once the assessment is complete.
AGL estimates that total committed or incurred expenditure on the project to date is approximately $130 million, compared with the committed or incurred expenditure of $102 million noted in AGL’s ASX release of 12 June 2018.
A report of the EES assessment is available from planning.vic.gov.au/environment-assessment