Submissions Report

Following the completion of the public exhibition of the HumeLink Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in October 2023, the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure (DPHI), formerly known as the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE), provided Transgrid with the submissions received. The HumeLink team has reviewed the submissions and is finalising a Submissions Report which collates, categorises and provides a response to submissions received from community members and groups, councils and government agencies. 

Amendment Report  

A number of proposed project amendments and refinements have also been identified in response to issues raised in submissions received on the EIS, as well as in response to ongoing design development and construction planning. The amendments and refinements provide functional improvements to the design and construction methodology. These are being assessed and will be reported on in an Amendment Report.  

The proposed amendments to the project 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 to the project 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. 

The map (below) shows the preferred western route through Green Hills State Forest as well as the proposed combined worker accommodation facilities and compounds, and standalone construction compounds.  

A number of fact sheets have been developed to provide further details on the amendments and refinements. Access the Green Hills, Gugaa substation, and construction fact sheets in the resources tab on the main HumeLink website.

A number of technical reports have been prepared to support the assessment of the proposed amendments and refinements. These reports assess potential impacts and proposed mitigation and management measures and consider submissions made on the EIS, where relevant.  

Technical reports include a Revised Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR), Revised Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment Report (ACHAR) and Revised Traffic and Transport Impact Assessment, which supersede the reports prepared for the EIS. Other technical reports developed as addendums to the reports prepared for the EIS cover noise and vibration, air quality, contamination, agriculture, surface water and groundwater, bushfire risk, historic heritage, landscape character and visual amenity, social, and flooding.  

To learn more about the key findings from the technical reports, see our April newsletter and Amendment Report assessment outcomes webinar slides.

Engagement since the EIS

The HumeLink project team has continued to engage with local communities and key stakeholders, including landowners, council representatives, relevant State and Commonwealth government agencies, utility service providers, Aboriginal stakeholders, and mineral and exploration title holders. 

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 amendments and refinements outlined in the Amendment Report. The project team also completed 15 street meetings with the Remote Access Community Hub (RACH) at locations near proposed worker accommodation facilities and construction compounds.  

We have also continued to engage with impacted landowners and near neighbours on the proposed amendments and refinements and their potential impacts. 

Engagement with Aboriginal stakeholders and Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs), Community Consultative Groups (CCGs), councils, government agencies, mineral title holders and the general community also continued throughout the development of the Amendment Report and Submissions Report.  

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 will also be detailed in Chapter 5 of the Amendment Report and in the Engagement Outcomes Report, available on the NSW Major Project Planning Portal following lodgment with the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure (DPHI).

Submissions Report and Amendment Report lodgement

The Submissions Report and Amendment Report will cross-reference one another and should be read together. Both documents will be lodged with DPHI and will be made publicly available on the NSW Major Project Planning Portal. Some of the components of the reports will be lodged separately, at a later date, as explained below. 

Updated biodiversity information, Revised BDAR and response to NSW DCCEEW – Environment and Heritage submission  

The Revised BDAR has been recognised as one of the largest biodiversity assessment reports completed in NSW to date, showcasing the complexity and extent of the assessment undertaken. Given this complexity and time required to analyse and assess additional data collected during biodiversity surveys following EIS exhibition, this technical report will be lodged with DPHI by mid-2024. Accompanying the Revised BDAR will be revised environmental management and mitigation measures for potential biodiversity impacts. 

Lastly, the submission from the NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) – Environment and Heritage (formerly Biodiversity Conservation and Science Directorate) cross references the Revised BDAR and will therefore be provided separate to the main Submissions Report.  

This staged lodgment has been agreed in consultation with DPHI and is consistent with the approach adopted on other recent transmission projects going through the assessment process. 

Next steps

Once all the assessment documents described above have been lodged with DPHI, the project will enter into the next stage of Environmental approval; assessment and determination. As part of this stage, DPHI will review all the information provided in the EIS, Submissions Report and Amendment Report and make a recommendation 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. 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. This would take place in accordance with an Enabling Works Management Plan which will be approved by the DPHI. The main construction work on transmission lines and substations is planned to begin in 2025 with construction expected to be completed in 2026.