All gas pipeline developments in NSW NSW that require a pipeline licence under the Pipelines Act 1967 are designated as State Significant Infrastructure (SSI) projects under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act). Accordingly such projects are subject to a comprehensive environmental assessment process that requires preparation and assessment of an environmental impact statement (EIS). The EP&A Act includes provisions to ensure that the potential environmental impacts of the project are assessed and considered in the decision-making process, and that the community is appropriately consulted. 

APA commenced the approvals process for the Western Slopes Pipeline Project on 21 February 2017 by lodging a Preliminary Environmental Assessment (PEA) for the Project with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE). DPIE subsequently issued Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) for the project outlining issues to be addressed in the project EIS.

Copies of the PEA, SEARs and a range of other relevant project information is available on DPIE’s Major Projects website -  https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/projects/search-name?name=western+slopes+pipeline 

Field survey work to inform the development of the project Environmental Impact Statement was undertaken throughout 2017.

APA is currently finalising the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement for lodgement with DPiE. A pipeline licence under the Pipelines Act 1967 will also be required before the construction and operation of the proposed gas pipeline can proceed.

Biosecurity

APA is responsible for ensuring our activities both during initial field surveys and later during construction adhere to all legislative requirements and Government policy applicable to biosecurity and weed management matters. These issues are not unique to the Western Slopes Pipeline. Successful management of weed and other biosecurity matters is a responsibility we take very seriously on all of our projects and operational assets.

Prior to access occurring, discussions will be held with landholders to facilitate identification of weed infestation or other biosecurity concerns. This consultation will inform the planning of our fieldwork and the weed management and biosecurity protocols to be followed on individual properties.

In the absence of specific feedback from affected landholders, and prior to accessing any property, APA has exercised its duty of care in assessing and mitigating any biosecurity risks. APA has its own biosecurity protocol which has been prepared to address identified project risks and fulfil our General Biosecurity Duty during the current phase of the project.

The findings of our field survey activities, as well as ongoing consultation with landholders and Government agencies, will be used to inform specific commitments within the project Environmental Impact Statement regarding the management of weed and biosecurity risks during construction and operation.