Thursday, 21 September 2023
MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has called for more time to be provided to local councils and the community to respond to the NSW Department of Planning on the proposed Oven Mountain Pumped Hydro project, requesting the intervention of the Minister for Planning Paul Scully today.
Mr Marshall approached the Minister today after fielding concerns from local councils and members of the public about the short timeframe to respond to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the State Significant Oven Mountain proposal, the largest pumped hydro electricity project every put forward in northern NSW.
“The Department chose to only exhibit the Oven Mountain proposal for one month, which simply is not enough time for the community to read, critically analyse and properly respond to a document and attachments of around 5,000 pages,” Mr Marshall said.
“This is the largest and most complicated pumped hydro proposal our region has ever seen and I feel the least the Department can do is give a minimum of two months to councils and the community to run the ruler over the project and its impacts.
“The project proponent has had years to compile its EIS, so it’s only reasonable to give the community impacted by the project adequate time to respond, beyond the current submission closing date of 16 October (26 days’ time).
“I’ve requested and additional month of public exhibition, which is the same as the extension granted by the previous Minister last year for the Winterbourne Windfarm proposal at Walcha, at my request on behalf of the local community.
“The extra time would allow locals to respond with better quality submissions and give the Department a much better sense of community views, questions and concerns, which is the whole purpose of the public exhibition period.
“I hope the Minister looks favourably on this reasonable request and grants an extension of time.”
Oven Mountain pumped hydro project comprises a new 900 megawatt underground pumped hydro-electric power station, upper dam and reservoir, lower dam and reservoir, main access tunnels, water intake structures, spillway, Macleay River pump facility, grid connection and ancillary infrastructure.
The project EIS and other documentation can be found here: www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/projects/oven-mountain-pumped-hydro-energy-storage.