The approval process for Exploratory Works is summarised in the steps and diagram below, which shows the next steps to be completed:
- DPE has placed the EIS on public exhibition from 23 July until 20 August 2018. During the exhibition period, government agencies and the community have the opportunity to review the EIS and make a written submission to DPE for consideration in its assessment of the Exploratory Works.
- At the completion of the public exhibition period, DPE will collate and provide Snowy Hydro with a copy of all submissions received during the exhibition period. Copies of the submissions, or a report of the issues raised in the submissions, will also be provided to the EPA and any other public authority the Secretary considers appropriate.
- After reviewing the submissions, Snowy Hydro will prepare a submissions report that responds to the relevant issues raised. If changes are required to the Exploratory Works as a result of the issues raised or to minimise environmental impact, a preferred infrastructure report (PIR) may also be required by the Secretary. If this is required, Snowy Hydro would prepare the PIR to address the changes to the design to minimise impacts and submit this for review to the DPE. The PIR would be made available to the public if the Secretary considers that significant changes are proposed.
- The Minister or the Secretary may, at any point, request the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) to provide advice on certain matters related to the Exploratory Works. The Minister may also request that the IPC hold a public hearing in relation to the project.
- The Secretary will issue a report to the Minister for his/her consideration of the application for approval. The report will include a copy of the EIS and PIR (if required), any advice provided by public authorities on the Exploratory Works, any report or advice of the IPC (if required) and any environmental assessment undertaken by the Secretary or other matter the Secretary considers appropriate.
- Approval from the NSW Minister for Planning is required before Snowy Hydro can proceed with the project. The Minister, when deciding whether or not to approve the carrying out of the Exploratory Works, is to consider the Secretary’s report, any advice provided by the Minister having portfolio responsibility for the proponent, and any findings or recommendation of the IPC’s review (if required).