Status

Ministers assessment published
Referral number:
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Background

Lower Murray Urban and Rural Water Corporation (LMW) proposes to undertake the Victorian Murray Floodplain Restoration Project (VMFRP) which consists of nine discrete sub-projects.

The Vinifera Floodplain Restoration Project (Vinifera), Nyah Floodplain Restoration Project (Nyah) and Burra Creek Floodplain Restoration Project (Burra Creek) aim to return a more natural flooding regime to 355 hectares (ha), 475 ha and 403 ha, respectively, of high ecological value floodplain.

The works proposed for these projects will include construction of:

  • channels
  • regulators
  • containment banks
  • drop structures
  • spillways
  • access tracks and realignments/upgrades to existing access tracks
  • borrow pit sites to supply fill material to support construction.

The Minister for Planning decided under the Environment Effects Act 1978 that an environment effects statement (EES) was not required for the projects. Each of the decisions include conditions requiring appropriate environmental assessment through an environment report process, which entails preparation of an environment report. A scoping document was prepared by DELWP (now Department of Transport and Planning) which enabled a single environment report to cover Vinifera, Nyah and Burra Creek.

Minister’s assessment for Burra Creek

On 7 January 2024, the Minister for Planning issued her assessment of the environmental effects of the Burra Creek Floodplain Restoration Project under the Environment Effects Act 1978. The assessment has been provided to the proponent and statutory decision-makers to inform approval decisions on the project. This includes informing the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment and Water’s decision under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The Minister’s assessment concludes that the Burra Creek project will not deliver overall benefits for floodplain vegetation communities and associated biodiversity values, and further will have unacceptable environmental effects

Minister’s assessment for Vinifera and Nyah

On 28 October 2023, the Minister for Planning issued her assessment of the environmental effects of Vinifera and Nyah under the Environment Effects Act 1978. The assessment has been provided to the proponent and statutory decision-makers to inform approval decisions on each of the projects, including the planning scheme amendment. This includes the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment and Water to inform her decision about each project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The Minister’s assessment concludes that both Vinifera and Nyah would result in some significant adverse impacts during construction, however both can also achieve an overall improvement to biodiversity in these floodplain environments, subject to further analysis and measures in accordance with the assessment. While the residual environmental effects can be acceptably managed, that is contingent upon effective implementation of mitigation and an environmental management regime consistent with that endorsed by the standing inquiry and advisory committee (SIAC) and refined through the assessment.

Public review and Inquiry

Inquiry and advisory committee

On 5 July 2023, a standing inquiry and advisory committee (SIAC) provided its report to the Minister for Planning on the Vinifera and Nyah Floodplain Restoration Projects. The environment report covering the three projects (Vinifera, Nyah and Burra Creek) was referred to the SIAC in January 2023. The SIAC held a directions hearing for all three projects on 20 March 2023.

Vinifera and Nyah

On 3 April 2023, LMW requested the Burra Creek project to not be included in the roundtable process being held for the environment report as they had identified that additional hydrological modelling work was required for the Burra Creek project to understand the implications of backwater effects that emerged following significant Murray River floods in late 2022. On 6 April 2023, the SIAC provided notice that the roundtable would only consider the Vinifera and Nyah projects and a roundtable was held from 13 April 2023 to 26 April 2023 to consider the environment report, draft planning scheme amendment, public submissions and information from the proponent on these two projects.

Burra Creek

The roundtable on the Burra Creek Floodplain Restoration Project was held from 11 August 2023 to 28 August 2023 to consider the environment report, draft planning scheme amendment, public submissions and information from the proponent relevant to this project.

Exhibition

The environment report and draft planning scheme amendment for the Vinfera, Nyah and Burra Creek projects were publicly exhibited for comment for 30 business days, from Monday 30 January 2023 to Friday 10 March 2023.

You can view the environment report, project documentation and any related documents at Victorian Murray Floodplain Restoration Project

Environment report preparation

Consultation plan

LMW prepared a consultation plan for the environment report process, outlining the opportunities and approaches for its community engagement during the preparation of the environment report.

Technical reference group

The department convened an inter-agency technical reference group to advise the proponent and the department, as appropriate, on scoping and adequacy of studies during the preparation of the environment report, as well as coordination with statutory approval processes

The organisations represented on the technical reference group are:

  • DTP – Impact Assessment (chair)
  • DEECA – Loddon Mallee Region
  • Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water
  • Earth Resources Regulation
  • Department of Transport and Planning –Transport
  • First Peoples - State Relations
  • Heritage Victoria
  • Relevant Registered Aboriginal Parties
  • Relevant Local Councils
  • Relevant Catchment Management Authorities
  • Parks Victoria
  • Lower Murray Water
  • Goulburn Murray Water
  • Environment Protection Authority

Scoping document

The core scope of the environment report is included within the conditions set by the Minister in the reasons on the EES referrals. A scoping document was prepared by DELWP (now Department of Transport and Planning) to help specify these matters needing to be investigated and documented by the proponent in the environment report and supporting technical studies.

Minister's decision on referrals

On 7 July, 11 June,  and 6 September 2020 the Minister for Planning decided that an environment effects statement was not required for the Vinifera, Nyah and Burra Creek projects, respectively, subject to conditions being met.

The Minister’s decisions require LMW to prepare an environment report (in lieu of an EES) under the Environment Effects Act 1978 to assess and manage specific potentially significant environmental effects of the Vinifera, Nyah and Burra Creek projects.

Referral - Vinifera

Project contact

If you have any questions or feedback, please get in touch via the contact details below.

Lower Murray Water

Proposed Nyah Floodplain Restoration Project, Vinifera Floodplain Restoration Project and Burra Creek Floodplain Restoration Project queries:

https://www.vmfrp.com.au/projects/
✉ Email: info@vmfrp.vic.gov.au

Page last updated: 07/05/24