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We have prepared some frequently asked questions about the EES exhibition and how the EES was prepared.

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EES Exhibition

The EES will be exhibited for 40 business days.

When the Minister is satisfied that an EES is adequate, it is normally released for public exhibition and comment for between 20 to 30 business days. The Minister has seen fit to extend exhibition to 40 days for the Fingerboards Project.

Amended procedures and requirements have been issued by the Minister for Planning under Section 8B(5) of the Environment Effects Act 1978.

Under the declared state of emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic, conventional exhibition of environment effects statements (EES) is not possible. Physical display of printed copies of the EES in public places cannot occur. The procedures and requirements applying to the EES, issued on 18 December 2016 are amended as follows:

  1. The EES is to be exhibited for a period of 40 business days for public comment, or such other period as the Minister may subsequently direct in writing.
  2. No less than two weeks before the first day of the public exhibition period, the proponent must place notices in newspapers and on-line, as well as communicate with known interested parties, to:
    1. Foreshadow the intention to commence formal exhibition;
    2. Note the impossibility of providing exhibition copies for physical inspection at public exhibition places;
    3. Describe intended on-line availability of the EES and related documentation for exhibition purposes; and
    4. Invite any potential submitters to register to receive EES documents on USB, or other electronic media, and for those who may have accessibility issues or, where electronic options are impracticable, in hard copy.

Other directions have been given in relation to public notifications, charges for documents and dispatch of documents. This information is available from Kalbar or on the Fingerboards Project website.

As per the Ministerial Guidelines, exhibition of the EES will allow for access to documentation by interested members of the public.

The Minister has specified that Kalbar shall invite any potential submitters to register to receive EES documents on USB, or other electronic media, and for those who may have accessibility issues or, where electronic options are impracticable, in hard copy.

Where hard copy documents are reasonably requested, Kalbar must provide hard copies of:

  1. The EES Summary Report and map book free of charge, and the EES Main Report for a modest charge aligned with postage costs, unless instructed otherwise by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s (DELWP) Director Impact Assessment;
  2. Other EES attachments or EES technical appendices, subject to payment of an appropriate fee, having regard to costs of printing and postage and the circumstances of the request, unless instructed otherwise by DELWP’s Director Impact Assessment; and
  3. The Environment Protection Act 1970 works approval application, unless instructed otherwise by the Environment Protection Authority.

EES Preparation

An Environmental Effects Statement (EES) is required by the State Government in accordance with legislation.

Scoping Requirements for the EES were set by the Minister for Planning following public input.

Comprehensive technical studies have been undertaken by independent technical experts to assess all potential impacts and identify measures to avoid, minimise and mitigate any potential impacts.

Key technical studies, such as Water, Air Quality and Rehabilitation, have undergone independent peer review.

The EES has been overseen by the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning, with input and advice from a Technical Reference Group made up of all relevant government agencies and authorities.

  • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (Melbourne and Gippsland Offices)
  • Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
  • Environment Protection Authority
  • East Gippsland Shire Council
  • Wellington Shire Council
  • East Gippsland and West Gippsland Catchment Management Authorities
  • VicRoads
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Aboriginal Victoria
  • Heritage Victoria
  • Parks Victoria
  • East Gippsland Water
  • Southern Rural Water
  • Agriculture Victoria

The EES process is essentially a risk-based impact assessment – the two methods of assessment used in the Fingerboards EES are compliance assessment and risk assessment.

Compliance assessment is based on EPA guidelines and a qualitative risk assessment has been used where compliance criteria are unavailable or inappropriate for the assessment of impacts. In a qualitative assessment, the risk of environmental and socioeconomic harm is assessed/evaluated using a combination of likelihood and consequence.

Designing and planning the controls that are applied to manage those risks is the next step. Those controls are known as “mitigations” or “management” controls and they are used to “minimise” or remove the risk. There is a chance that a “mishap” could occur. The impact of that “mishap” is measured via the risk assessment process. If we “mitigate” and “manage”, then we will “minimise” or remove the chance of that mishap happening. The EES also assesses the residual impact after mitigation measures have been implemented.