The Amendment Report and Submissions Report have been lodged

In May 2024, Transgrid lodged HumeLink’s Amendment Report and Submissions Report with the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure (DPHI). Following the lodgement, the Department has made both reports publicly available on the NSW Major Projects Planning Portal. The Submissions Report and Amendment Report cross-reference one another and should be read together. 

The HumeLink Submissions Report responds to the submissions made during the public exhibition period of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The EIS for HumeLink was prepared in accordance with the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) and was placed on public exhibition for 41 days between 30 August 2023 and 10 October 2023. The Submissions Report explains who made submissions, what issues they raised and what updated mitigation measures have been made in response.  

The HumeLink Amendment Report assesses several amendments and refinements in response to community and stakeholder feedback received on the EIS, ongoing design refinements and further construction planning.  

The locations of temporary access tracks, construction compounds and accommodation facilities in the Amendment Report and our updated interactive map reflect the assessments made for the Report. They do not reflect individual negotiations with landowners or the continuing assessment of locations on private property.  

The Revised Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR) has been recognised as one of the largest biodiversity assessment reports completed in NSW to date highlighting the complexity and extent of the assessment undertaken. Due to the complexity and time required to analyse and assess additional data collected during biodiversity surveys, the Amendment Report excludes the BDAR and the Submissions Report excludes the response to the NSW Biodiversity Conservation and Science Directorate (BCD) submission.  

To find out more about the Amendment Report and Submissions Report, view the “Submissions Report and Amendment Report” tab in the HumeLink Environmental Approvals Update section.

If you have any questions about the Amendment Report or the Submissions Report and where to find it in the NSW Major Projects Planning Portal, contact the project team via email humelink@transgrid.com.au or phone 1800 317 367.

Construction update

Subject to the Australian Energy Regulator’s approval, the proposed construction of the HumeLink route will occur in two sections (east and west).  These two partners are joint ventures (JV) and are as follows:

  • HumeLink East: Acciona Construction Australia Pty Ltd and Genus Infrastructure (NSW) Pty Ltd (AG JV); and
  • HumeLink West: UGL Engineering Pty Ltd and CPB Contractors Pty Ltd (UGL-CPB JV).

The delivery partner contracts are structured in two stages, with early works to begin immediately and finish in 2024, including detailed design, investigations, procurement and project mobilisation. The second stage comprises main construction works and will begin after all project approvals have been granted and the final investment decision is made.

Both delivery partners bring advanced technical expertise to the project, along with a clear commitment to investing in local communities through Indigenous employment and business opportunities for local suppliers, as well as training and education to support the clean energy industry and jobs of the future.

You may shortly see these delivery partners in the community as they begin their site investigations and seek to build relationships directly with landowners, communities, local businesses and stakeholders.

Following the determination of the Environmental Impact Statement and the completion of detailed design, they will have a growing presence in the community and will look to work closely with the broader community and Transgrid to consult and collaborate on this nation-critical project.

Figure 1: HumeLink preferred route with division of HumeLink East and HumeLink West sections.

Overview

HumeLink is a new 500kV transmission line which will connect Wagga Wagga, Bannaby and Maragle.

It is one of the state’s largest energy infrastructure projects, with about 365 km of proposed new transmission lines, and new or upgraded infrastructure at four locations.

Why do we need HumeLink?

To meet our future energy demands, Australia needs to transition to a greater mix of low-emission renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar. HumeLink will deliver a more reliable and more sustainable grid by increasing the amount of renewable energy that can be delivered across the national electricity grid, helping to transition Australia to a low carbon future.

Project benefits:

  • Reliable power: NSW households will have greater access to reliable and affordable electricity
  • Economic growth: HumeLink will unlock the full capacity of the expanded Snowy Hydro Scheme and enable greater sharing of energy across the eastern states.
  • Cleaner, sustainable future: HumeLink will enable more renewable energy generation to enter the market, supporting Australia’s emissions reduction targets
  • Jobs and opportunities: the project will create more than 1600 construction jobs
  • Economic growth: contribute to economic activity in regional NSW, generating major benefits for local communities along the route.

Project objectives

When completed, HumeLink aims to:

  • Increase the transfer capacity between southern NSW and major load centres within NSW (Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong)
  • Reinforce stability and reliability of the transmission network
  • Facilitate transition of the network to new generation sources

Community information sessions

HumeLink East Business Buzz sessions | 20 - 21 May 2024

Business Buzz sessions will share the opportunities the HumeLink project will bring to the region including:

  • Packages of work
  • Registering on our procurement system
  • Training opportunities, including fully funded traineeships, apprenticeships and scholarships
  • How we can help you grow your business through our business support program

 

Date Time Focus topic(s) Locations Venue
Monday, 20 May 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm Pre-employment programs for school engagement Tumut Tumut Golf Club
Tuesday, 21 May 7:45 am - 8:30 am Commercial opportunities & ICN registration training Yass Yass Golf Club
Tuesday, 21 May 8:45 am - 9:30 am Pre-employment programs Yass Yass Golf Club
Tuesday, 21 May 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm Commercial opportunities & ICN registration training Campbelltown Wests League Club, Leumeah

Online Events

Thank you to everyone that joined our webinar events held via Zoom between 11 - 16 April. Details about the next round of events will be published in the coming weeks.

The Transgrid team will keep you updated about our upcoming in-person and online events through our newsletter, website and other channels.

Click on the links below to view the resources from our recent community information sessions.

Community Information Webinars – Presentations

Community Information Webinars – What We Heard Reports

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In-person Community Information Sessions – What We Heard Reports

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Project update

HumeLink Contingent Project Application Stage 2 (CPA2) and Material Change in Circumstance Assessment (MCC) - feedback period has now closed

On 1 March 2024, The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) published the Contingent Project Application Stage 2 (CPA2) for Transgrid’s HumeLink project, which outlines the estimated project costs and anticipated community benefits.

Publication of the CPA2 started AER’s official four-week consultation process for this part of the process. It ran in parallel with the consultation period for Transgrid’s Response to the Material Change in Circumstance (MCC) assessment, which demonstrates that the project remains the preferred option.

The feedback period for the MCC assessment was extended at the request of the community, to align with the consultation process for the CPA2.

Submissions on the CPA2 were invited by the AER between 1 March and 3 April 2024. Transgrid welcomed feedback on the MCC until 3 April 2024.

More information on the CPA2 can be accessed on the AER’s website: www.aer.gov.au/news/articles/communications/consultation-open-humelink-stage-2-contingent-project-application

Further updates will be provided as planning progresses.

Material Change in Circumstance Assessment

On 1 March 2024, Transgrid published an update regarding the Material Change in Circumstance Assessment (MCC). Under the National Electricity Rules (NER) a material change in circumstance assessment (MCC) is required if a project changes in terms of cost. As part of this announcement, Transgrid invited feedback from communities and stakeholders by midnight 21 March 2024. This consultation period has been extended until 3 April 2024 at the request of community.

The MCC tests if these project changes impact the ranking of the preferred option compared to the original assumptions made in the Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T) process, which was completed for HumeLink in 2021.

The overall cost of HumeLink has increased from $3.27b in 2021 to $4.88b in 2024. These cost increases are driven by global demand, supply chain disruption and increased prices for raw materials and are commensurate with increases in major projects globally during this period. During this period, the market benefits also increased and as such the assessment found the preferred option for HumeLink remained unchanged. This means the increase in cost is not deemed a material change in circumstance event as defined by the attached report.

The market benefits associated with HumeLink have increased, from $500m to more than $1b. This significant increase in market benefits is primarily driven by:

  • the latest AEMO information on timing of energy generation projects, and 
  • emissions targets and renewable energy policies changing the inputs and assessments for AEMO benefits modelling.

The reports below and associated models outline this information in more detail. Transgrid welcomes feedback from communities and stakeholders. If you would like to give feedback, please email humelink@transgrid.com.au by midnight 3 April 2024. Feedback received during the period will be considered by the HumeLink project team and responded to after the closing date.

The extension of the MCC feedback period aligns with the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) consultation on the Contingent Project Application Stage 2 (CPA2) for HumeLink.

Contingent Project Application

A draft Contingent Project Application (draft Application) has been published for the delivery of Humelink, which will be our largest capital project since construction of our existing network. It involves around 360km of new 500 kV transmission lines connecting the greater Sydney load centre with the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme and Project EnergyConnect.

A Contingent Project Application (CPA) is the application a regulated business like Transgrid makes to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) to amend its revenue determination to include cost recovery from consumers for a project such as HumeLink. 

The AER provided its determinations for Humelink Stage 1 part 1 (Early Works) on 17 Aug 2022 and Stage 1 part 2 (Long Lead Equipment) on 25 Aug 2023. We are please to now provide our draft Stage 2 Contingent Project Application for the delivery of the HumeLink project.

Stakeholder engagement on our draft Stage 2 Application is important due to the significant costs involved. Please refer to the following documents for further details:

Please share with us your views and position on this draft Stage 2 Application by email at: regulatory.consultation@transgrid.com.au by 22 December 2023.

Stakeholders and community members can provide feedback on the draft HumeLink CPA Stage 2 application should they wish to do so before the statutory period begins. However, there will be another opportunity to give feedback on this application.

Following this initial feedback round and the following feedback loop confirmation from AEMO, Transgrid will submit our formal HumeLink CPA Stage 2 application to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).

A formal consultation process will follow in 2024, including public exhibition of the application for a statutory period of four weeks.

Transgrid shortlists proponents for critical HumeLink transmission

Transgrid has announced the three proponents shortlisted to submit tenders to deliver a critical link in the National Electricity Market - the HumeLink transmission project.

Following an expression of interest in August 2022, Transgrid has invited three reputable Tier 1 Delivery Partners with strong experience in delivering infrastructure projects in Regional NSW to bid for the project’s delivery contracts.

  • Acciona Construction Australia Pty Ltd, Kalpataru Power Transmission Limited and Genus Plus Group Ltd (JV);
  • Downer Utilities Australia Pty Ltd and Consolidated Power Projects Australia Pty Ltd (JV); and
  • UGL Engineering Pty Ltd.

The successful proponents, who have also demonstrated experience in supporting sustainability, local jobs and First Nation participation, will now proceed to the next phase of the selection process: Read Transgrid’s media statement.

Australian Energy Regulator approves Stage 1 (Part 2) early works funding for HumeLink

Transgrid has welcomed the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) approval of the requested funding for Stage 1 (Part 2) of the HumeLink Project. 

This latest round of funding is a further indication of the Regulator’s confidence in this critically important transmission project, which represents a significant investment in Australia’s energy capability. 

The proposed HumeLink 500 kilovolt (kV) transmission lines are critical to the release of more affordable, reliable and renewable energy to the grid and is a priority project for the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and the Commonwealth and NSW Governments. 

The $227.9 million in capital expenditure enables Transgrid to procure critical items which are subject to long lead delivery times - such as transformers, reactors, conductor and steel towers. 

Stage 1 (Part 2) funding reduces cost uncertainty, by mitigating against current inflation and securing supply chain availability by bringing the associated costs forward and reducing the stage 2 cost by an equivalent amount. 

The Australian Energy Regulator’s determination follows their approval of the stage 1 (early works) funding on 17 August 2022 for $383.3 million ($2022-23). 

Australian Energy Regulator approves Stage 1 (Part 1) early works funding for HumeLink

Transgrid has welcomed the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) approval of all of the requested funding for Stage 1 (early works) of the HumeLink Project.

The $321.87 million in capital expenditure represents the next step in bringing more affordable, reliable, renewable energy to the grid as Transgrid delivers a next-generation transmission capability for NSW and the National Electricity Market.

This funding agreement is an indicator of the confidence the Regulator has in the HumeLink Project, which will reinforce the backbone of the transmission network for the eastern seaboard and unlock the full capacity of the Snowy Hydro 2.0 project

The funding will be used to conduct early works to reduce project risks and ensure Transgrid maximises efficiencies to help drive down energy costs to the consumer. Transgrid will continue to consult and collaborate with First Nations groups, communities and landowners on HumeLink to refine the project scope and identify investments which can return meaningful benefits to the families and communities living and working near the major project. These include training and employment opportunities, housing initiatives and funding community projects. Transgrid has issued an Expression of Interest for key delivery partners to design, install and commission the infrastructure.

HumeLink is a new 500kV transmission line which will connect Wagga Wagga, Bannaby and Maragle in southern NSW.

Read Transgrid’s media statement on Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) approval.

Transgrid releases the HumeLink Project - underground report

In late 2021, Transgrid was asked by the community and landowners to investigate options which explore the feasibility of building the HumeLink project via underground cable instead of overhead transmission lines.

Transgrid agreed to form a collaborative, Steering Committee, which developed an underground feasibility study scope of works. GHD and sub-consultants Stantec were appointed due to their High-Voltage Direct-Current (HVDC) expertise.

Following the completion of additional independent reviews of the project costing assumptions, GHD and Stantec have finalised the HumeLink Project – Underground Report and the community members of the Steering Committee have provided Transgrid with their response to the Report. In February 2023 Transgrid released its response to the report.

The cost of undergrounding the HumeLink transmission lines is estimated to be $ 11.5 billion at least three times more than the entire project’s current cost of $3.3 billion.

This is unsustainable as the additional cost will be passed on to commercial, industrial and private electricity consumers, at a time of great concern about escalating electricity prices.

The additional expenditure would curtail expenditure on other transmission projects essential for connecting alternative, renewable energy to consumers. This is because there is only a finite amount of money available to rewire the nation to deliver alternative, renewable power.

Undergrounding transmission lines would mean a significant delay in completion of the project by up to five years.

This delay would threaten the timely connection of the new renewable energy and the related essential new interstate connections to the grid. It is essential that the infrastructure is completed by 2026 to secure the network before the ageing power stations are decommissioned. A significant delay would put the energy security and stability of large parts of Eastern Australia at risk of failure.

We understand and empathise with the concerns of landowners and their desire to avoid hosting transmission infrastructure on their land.  We appreciate that people will be disappointed by the decisions following the completion of the report. However, it is very difficult to put in place any large infrastructure project without impacting some landowners. We hope that certainty may, to some extent, balance concern and disappointment.

Transgrid will continue to consult with landowners to minimise the impact to their properties.

Transgrid would like to acknowledge the efforts of the communities and volunteers from across the HumeLink footprint for the many hours they have contributed to the work of the steering committee since late 2021.

Announcement of preferred 200m corridor

In March 2022, Transgrid completed route refinement decisions in most areas on the above-ground study for the 200m corridor for the HumeLink project in the four key areas of Tumut, Bannaby, Pejar Dam and Green Hills. To minimise impact the preferred route was based on:

  • keeping the transmission line as straight as possible;
  • selecting the shortest possible route between two substations; and,
  • where possible be parallel to existing transmission easements and use public land

Transgrid’s constraints mapping process also considers factors including social considerations, environmental considerations, land use considerations, network resilience and cost.

To learn more about our route refinement decisions for the TumutBanabyGreen Hills and Pejar Dam areas, please see our fact sheets in our resources section.

In March 2022 Transgrid engaged an engineering consultant, GHD Pty Ltd, to conduct a comparison of transmission line route options for the HumeLink project in the Tumut area in response to landowners requesting that ‘Option 2F’ through the Kosciuszko National Park be thoroughly investigated as a viable option. Based on their assessment, the GHD report identifies Tumut North as the recommended option because it would impact the smallest number of landowners, represents the lowest project cost and would have the least impact on the environment. The GHD Options Assessment Report and HumeLink fact sheet explaining our route refinement decision can also be found in our resources section below.

In April 2022, based on Transgrid’s study results and GHD’s recommendation, the preferred 200m corridor was announced.

Local Business Register

We are interested in hearing from sole traders and businesses in the region that could provide a variety of products or services including engineering, design, general trades, administration, and Indigenous and support services. We’re also keen to hear from catering, accommodation, graphic design and printing services.

If you have a local business in the following Local Government Areas and are interested in working on the HumeLink Project, we would love to hear from you- simply complete our online form via the below link:

  • Upper Lachlan Shire
  • Yass Valley Council
  • Snowy Valleys Council
  • Cootamundra Gundagai Regional Council
  • Wagga Wagga City Council, or
  • Goulburn Mulwaree
  • Hilltops Council

Local employment and supplier opportunities for HumeLink East and HumeLink West will be made widely available in the coming months.

The information collected will be shared with major construction contractors as planning progresses and opportunities arise. The local business register will also be the project teams’ first port of call when we are looking to procure goods and services at various stages of the project.

Please note, registering your interest does not guarantee employment.

Map

Timeline

  • Investigation of project options - Completed

    From 2019

  • Regulatory Investment Test (RIT-T) process - Completed

    From 2019, completed 2021

  • 1 km study corridor identified - Completed

    Early 2020

  • Community and landowner consultation - In progress

    Early 2020

    Community Consultative groups established late 2021

  • Environmental, field and technical studies - In progress

    From 2021 to 2023

  • Refined 200 m corridor announced - Completed

    Mid 2022

  • Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) issued - Completed

    Mid 2022

  • Underground Feasibility Study - Completed

    Mid 2022

  • NSW Department of Planning and Environment’s public display of Environmental Impact Statement - Completed

    September 2023

  • Project Submissions Report and Amendment Report to NSW Department of Planning, Housing, and Infrastructure - In progress

    First half 2024

  • Planning approvals obtained from State and Commonwealth governments - Proposed

    2024

  • Preparatory works, site establishment and early works - Proposed

    Late 2024

  • Construction works starts on transmission lines and substations - Proposed

    2025

  • Construction finishes - Proposed

    2026

Resources - Community Consultative Groups

CCG presentations

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Combined CCG Meeting Minutes

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Wagga Wagga CCG meeting minutes

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Upper Lachlan Yass CCG meeting minutes

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Snowy Valley CCG meeting minutes

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CCG nomination forms

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CCG Terms of Reference

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Regulatory and Environmental Approvals

Regulatory process

Federal and state government regulations require all major infrastructure projects, such as HumeLink, to undergo a robust environmental assessment before they are considered for approval.

On 11 February 2022, Transgrid submitted a Scoping Report for HumeLink to the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure (DPHI) – formerly known as DPE. The report present a preliminary assessment of the potential impacts from the project. These were further assessed as part of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

DPHI reviewed the Scoping Report and on 15 March 2022 issued the Planning Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs). The SEARs sets out issues that must be addressed in the EIS.

All Critical State Significant Infrastructure development applications must be accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The purpose of an EIS is to identify and assess the potential environmental, economic and social impacts of the project to help government agencies, relevant authorities, community and stakeholders make an informed decision or provide an informed submission on the merits of the project.

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) – formerly Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE) – is also examining potential impacts of the project for Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES).

To read the documents submitted to DPHI as part of the project’s EIS as well as the formal submissions, visit the NSW Major Projects Planning Portal.

Rit-t process and submissions

As part of the regulatory approval process, Transgrid was required to demonstrate HumeLink’s benefits to consumers using a three-part market benefits test. This Regulatory Investment Test – Transmission (RIT-T) is the public economic cost benefit test administered by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) on all projects of more than $6 million. The documents include:

Project Specification Conclusions Report (PSCR) - detailed the need to reinforce the transmission network in southern NSW to increase capacity to the state's demand centres and describes credible options to meet the need, including technical characteristics that would be required of a non-network option.

Project Assessment Draft Report (PADR) - a full quantitative analysis of the proposed options and expected market benefit across a range of scenarios and sensitivities, published as supporting documents. 

Project Assessment Conclusions Report (PACR) - addresses PADR consultation responses and determines the final preferred option.

Project Assessment Conclusions Report (PACR) Addendum - this addendum has been prepared in response to the AER's dispute determination and extends the analysis presented in the HumeLink PACR published in July 2021.

Environmental approvals 

The NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) and Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2021 (EP&A Regulation) form the statutory framework for environmental assessment and planning approval in NSW.

As part of the planning approval process for HumeLink, the project is required to prepare an EIS in accordance with the Planning Secretary’s environmental assessment requirements (SEARs).

This project also requires a Commonwealth Government approval as the DCCEEW has determined it is a controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Under a bilateral agreement between the State and Commonwealth, the EIS will satisfy the assessment requirement of both authorities. However, HumeLink will need environmental approval from the NSW and Commonwealth governments.

On August 30, 2023 the EIS was lodged to the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure (DPHI) formerly known as DPE, and placed on public exhibition. The EIS public exhibition commenced 30 August 2023 and concluded Tuesday 10 October, 2023.

The project team is continuing to review and respond to submissions received on the EIS via the Submissions Report and assess and report on proposed project amendments and refinements via the Amendment Report. The amendments and refinements have been identified in response to issues raised in submissions and ongoing design refinements.  As the project progresses through regulatory requirements, the team continues to actively engage with communities, stakeholders and government agencies. Engagement will continue throughout the preparation of the Amendment Report and in the lead-up to construction and operation of HumeLink.

The Submissions Report and Amendment Report will cross-reference one another and should be read in conjunction. The documents will be submitted to the DPHI during Q2 2024 concurrently and made available on the DPHI Major Projects Planning Portal.  

The DPHI will review the EIS, Submissions Report and Amendment Report as part of the project assessment. The DPHI will then make a recommendation to the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces to either approve the project along with any conditions or provide reasons for refusal. The DPHI may request additional information from Transgrid as part of the project assessment. 

If planning approval from State and Commonwealth governments is granted in the second half of 2024 site establishment and early works for the project will begin in late 2024. Construction work on transmission lines and substations would begin in 2025 with construction completed in 2026. 

Read the Frequently Asked Questions below for more information on the Environmental approvals:

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is HumeLink?

HumeLink is a new 500kV transmission line which will connect Wagga Wagga, Bannaby and Maragle. It is one of the State’s largest energy infrastructure projects, with about 365 km of proposed new transmission lines, and new or upgraded infrastructure at four locations.

2. Why do we need HumeLink?

To meet our future energy demands, Australia needs to transition to a greater mix of low-emission renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar. HumeLink will deliver a more reliable and more sustainable grid by increasing the amount of renewable energy that can be delivered across the national electricity grid, helping to transition Australia to a low carbon future.

3. Is HumeLink a Critical State Significant Infrastructure project and what does this mean?

Yes. HumeLink is a Critical State Significant Infrastructure (CSSI) project. CSSI projects are deemed to have state significance due to size, economic value or potential impacts. These include developments that have a wider significance than just the local area.

4. What environmental planning approvals are needed for this project?

The NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) and Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2021 (EP&A Regulation) form the statutory framework for environmental assessment and planning approval in NSW.

As part of the planning approval process for HumeLink, the project is required to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in accordance with the Planning Secretary’s environmental assessment requirements (SEARs). This project also requires Commonwealth Government approval as the DCCEEW has determined it is a controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Under a bilateral agreement between the State and Commonwealth, the EIS will satisfy the assessment requirement of both authorities. However, HumeLink will need approval from the NSW and Commonwealth governments.

5. What is a bilateral agreement and how does it relate to HumeLink?

HumeLink’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was developed to satisfy the requirements from both the State and Commonwealth governments assessment under a bilateral agreement. This agreement is established between the Commonwealth and NSW governments to strengthen co-operation and reduce duplication during certain environmental impact assessment processes. The approach is standard practice for Critical State Significant Infrastructure (CSSI) projects. Under this agreement, some planning stages will be carried out in parallel.

6. What is an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)?

As a Critical State Significant Infrastructure (CSSI) project, HumeLink is required to develop an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). An EIS describes in detail the environmental, social and economic impacts that can arise from the project and proposes measures to effectively mitigate those impacts.

As part of the planning approval process for HumeLink, an EIS was prepared in accordance with the Planning Secretary’s environmental assessment requirements (SEARs). The SEARs identify matters which must be addressed in the EIS and essentially form its terms of reference.

To find out more about the project's environmental planning approval process, visit our HumeLink Environmental Approvals Update section on the main website.

7. What are the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs)?

The Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure (DPHI), formerly known as the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE), issued the Secretary's Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) for the HumeLink project in March 2022. In April 2022, the supplementary SEARs, which include Commonwealth Government requirements, were issued. 

DPHI included input from relevant government agencies to consider their requirements for the project before issuing SEARs. The SEARs identify and specify matters which must be investigated as part of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and essentially form its terms of reference. It includes the requirements for both the NSW and Commonwealth governments. The key issues outlined in the SEARs and supplementary SEARs include biodiversity (threatened species and communities and migratory species), heritage (National Heritage places), water and soils, land, transport, amenity, air, hazards, waste, social and economic.

8. How did community members have their say about the project?

The EIS was placed on exhibition by the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure (DPHI) (formerly the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE)) for an initial 28-day period from Wednesday 30 August 2023 to Tuesday 26 September 2023. On 20 September 2023, DPHI advertised a 14-day extension of the public exhibition period ending Tuesday 10 October 2023. The public exhibition was advertised by Transgrid via print, digital, radio and social media, and by direct electronic mail as well as on the project website.

9. How much feedback was received on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and how was it used?

Transgrid received and responded to 158 submissions from government agencies, local councils,  organisations and individual community members on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

The Submissions Report responds to the submissions made during the public exhibition period. It explains who made submissions, what issues they raised and directs the submitter to additional information, where relevant.

After considering issues raised in the submissions, as well as stakeholder feedback before and during the public exhibition, and design and construction methodology development, Transgrid is proposing several amendments and refinements to the project. These changes are detailed in a separate Amendment Report, which describes any different or new impacts arising out of the proposed amendments and refinements and how those impacts would be managed and mitigated.  

To find out more about HumeLink’s Submissions Report and Amendment Report, access and view the “Submissions Report and Amendment Report” tab in the HumeLink Enviromental Approvals Update section on the main website.

 

10. Who has been engaged during the development of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)?

Adhering to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) engagement process for proponents of major infrastructure projects, Transgrid consulted with the relevant local, State and Commonwealth Government authorities, service providers, community groups, affected landowners, Native Title holders and Aboriginal land claimants, exploration licence holders, quarry operators and mineral title holders.

11. What plans were developed for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) engagement?

Transgrid developed the EIS Engagement Plan to identify and demonstrate how engagement activities planned for HumeLink would meet the consultation requirements outlined in the Secretary's Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs). the plan aligns with the HumeLink Engagement Strategy (identified in Section 6.1.1 of the HumeLink Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)). This plan includes identifying engagement opportunities for communities and stakeholders along the project footprint as well as targeted consultation with government agencies, business associations and Aboriginal communities.

Transgrid also established three independently facilitated Community Consultative Groups (CCGs), attended by a wide range of stakeholders including local government authorities, impacted landowners, and interested community members. The aim of the CCGs was to inform, seek input from key community representatives on key issues, and work directly with stakeholders to address concerns as they are identified throughout all stages of the project. The last combined CCG meeting took place in March 2024, which marked the last meeting in this format since the start of the CCGs in March 2023.

12. How has Transgrid engaged with impacted landowners during the development of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)?

Transgrid has a dedicated team of place managers and land access officers who have built direct relationships with impacted landowners throughout the project footprint. The place managers and land access officers have one-on-one and ongoing engagement with landowners about their properties. During the development of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), our team members directly engaged with landowners to discuss the key aspects of the EIS, opportunities for feedback and the next steps in the environmental approvals process.

13. How were stakeholders engaged during the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) public exhibition?

Transgrid undertook a range of engagement activities during the public exhibition period to inform landowners, the community and other stakeholders about the project, discuss concerns and questions, and provide information on how to make a formal submission on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

The HumeLink team held 22 community information sessions across the project footprint and three webinars. The team also visited landowners with the Remote Access Community Hub (RACH), held additional sessions for Community Consultative Group (CCG) members, and promoted our activities extensively across local media, in our newsletters and updates. The HumeLink July 2023 Newsletter was emailed to more than 800 project subscribers, easement-affected landowners and near neighbours, local information distributors, CCG members and letterbox dropped to more than 11,000 recipients within a 10-kilometre radius of the EIS project footprint.

Printed copies of the main body of the EIS were also available at select community libraries across the project footprint and posted to landowners on request. A digital EIS (DEIS) was developed to support a better understanding of the HumeLink EIS. The user-friendly and interactive platform presented key outcomes of the EIS, delivering interactive mapping, multimedia displays and links to the full EIS on the NSW Major Projects Planning Portal. During the EIS public exhibition, the DEIS received 18,270 views with 1,500 active users visiting the HumeLink Digital EIS portal.

More information is available in the What We Heard Report EIS Public Exhibition - September/October 2023.

14. Will the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be assessed with other documents?

Yes. Transgrid will lodge HumeLink’s Submissions Report and Amendment Report with the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure (DPHI) to be read and assessed in conjunction with the EIS for final determination on the project.

15. What’s in the HumeLink Submissions Report?

The Submissions Report collates, categorises and provides a response to EIS submissions received.

Submissions from government agencies, public authorities and local councils were considered separately to submissions from the community and organisations. The content of each government agency, public authority and local council submission was reviewed, and each issue raised has been included and responded to in the Submissions Report.

The content of each community and organisation submission was reviewed and categorised according to the key issues raised (e.g. economic, environmental, and social impacts) and sub-issues (e.g. biodiversity). These issue-specific categories formed the basis for the structure of responses to the submissions. The key issue categories were generally developed to be consistent with the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure (DPHI) State significant infrastructure guidelines - preparing a submissions report (DPE, 2022a).

16. What’s in the HumeLink Amendment Report?

HumeLink’s Amendment Report outlines project changes since publication of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and helps the community, government agencies and the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure (DPHI) understand the implications of these changes. The HumeLink Amendment Report assesses several amendments and refinements in response to issues received on the EIS, ongoing design refinements and further construction planning.

The amendments and refinements provide functional refinements to the design and construction methodology of the project. Several technical reports have also been prepared to support the assessment of the proposed amendments and refinements. These will be provided in HumeLink’s Amendment Report.

17. What are the amendments and refinements in the HumeLink Amendment Report?

The proposed amendments in the Amendment Report include: 

  • changes to the transmission line corridor including the realignment of the route through Green Hills State Forest to the west of Batlow  
  • changes to the number and location of construction ancillary facilities including worker accommodation facilities and construction compounds  
  • nomination of access tracks to support the construction and operation of the project  
  • additional telecommunications connections to existing substations.  

The proposed refinements in the Amendment Report include:  

  • transmission line and substation design refinements at Gregadoo  
  • identification of areas where controlled blasting may be required 
  • use of approved water sources  
  • use of helicopters and drones.  

Find more information on the proposed amendments and refinements in the “Submissions Report and Amendment Report” tab in the “HumeLink Environmental Approvals Update” section on the main website. The Submissions Report and Amendment Report, along with technical reports prepared to support the assessment of the proposed amendments and refinements, will be available on the NSW Major Projects Planning Portal after they are lodged with the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure (DPHI). Certain components of these reports, including the Revised Biodiversity Development Assessment Report and other information related to biodiversity (such as updated environmental mitigation measures and the response to the Biodiversity, Conservation and Science Directorate submission on the EIS) will be lodged with DPHI in June 2024.

18. How have stakeholders been engaged following the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) public exhibition?

Transgrid has engaged the community and stakeholders following the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) public exhibition and during preparation of the Amendment Report by undertaking in-person and online engagement advertised through print and digital newspaper advertisements, social media advertisements, posters in local towns and email campaigns.

In the lead-up to lodging the Amendment Report and Submissions Report, the project team held 15 in-person community information sessions and five webinars to discuss the proposed amendments and refinements to the project. The project team also completed 15 street meetings with the Remote Access Community Hub (RACH) at locations near the proposed combined worker accommodation facilities and construction compounds. The property and engagement teams – via our place managers and land access officers – have managed ongoing direct engagement with impacted landowners and near neighbours on the proposed amendments and refinements and their potential impacts.

The project team has also continued to engage with Aboriginal stakeholders and Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs), Community Consultative Groups (CCGs), local councils, government agencies, mineral title holders and the general community.

More information on our engagement can be found in the What We Heard Reports on the “Community information sessions” section of the website. Our engagement for the Amendment Report is also detailed in Chapter 5 of the Amendment Report and in Appendix D: Engagement Outcomes Report, available on the NSW Major Projects Planning Portal

To find out more about project progress, we invite you to register to receive email updates here

19. What are the current project timings?

The Submissions Report and Amendment Report will be lodged with the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure (DPHI) in Q2 2024. DPHI will then recommend to the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces and the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment to either approve the project along with any conditions or provide reasons for refusal.

If planning approval from State and Commonwealth governments is granted in the second half of 2024, site establishment and early works for the project will begin in late 2024. Construction work on transmission lines and substations is set to begin in 2025 with construction completed in 2026.

20. What happens when the project is approved?

Should the project be approved, it would be subject to Ministers Conditions of Approval which outline how the potential impacts of the project and engagement with landowners and communities need to be managed during construction. The Ministers Conditions of Approval may also include operational requirements.

A Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) and detailed sub-plans will be developed by our delivery partners to outline HumeLink’s construction approach and management of impacts. These plans will be submitted to the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure (DPHI) - the sub-plans will require review from relevant agencies and local councils and approval by DPHI before construction can start on HumeLink.

Contact us

  • Toll-free phone number: 1800 317 367
  • Email: humelink@transgrid.com.au 
  • Mail: HumeLink Community Engagement Team, PO BOX A1000, Sydney South NSW 1235

Resources

Underground Reports

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Route investigations, options and refinements

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Delivery partners

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Regulatory update reports and models

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Workshops

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Regulatory Submissions and Documents

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PACR Addendum and supporting documents

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HumeLink

30 August 2023

Communities encouraged to respond to EIS for critical transmission project HumeLink

Landowners, community members and other stakeholders are encouraged to respond to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) published today for the HumeLink project.

Community

25 October 2022

Transgrid welcomes strategic payments for landowners hosting new transmission

Transgrid has welcomed the NSW Government’s Strategic Benefit Payments scheme for new major transmission projects, which will support the transition to renewable energy and the supply of cheaper, cleaner and more reliable electricity for consumers.

Energy Transition

17 August 2022

Australian Energy Regulator approves early works funding for HumeLink

Transmission infrastructure leader Transgrid has welcomed the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) approval of all of the requested funding for Stage 1 (early works) of the HumeLink Project.