Fact sheets and FAQs

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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.