Gas-fired power station wins badge of state significance

ORIGIN Energy’s proposed 1,000MW gas-fired power station is of state significance and the minister for planning will be the planning authority for the purposes of issuing a planning scheme amendment for the site, Victorian acting minister for planning, John Pandazopoulos has ruled.

This determination is a key milestone in the development approval process for the combined power station and pipeline project that is being considered near Mortlake in western Victoria, according to Origin’s general manager public and government affairs Tony Wood.

“The determination paves the way for a comprehensive environmental assessment of the project,” Wood said.

The project will be assessed under the Environment Effects Act 1978.

“The next steps in gaining the development approval for the project include the formation of a technical reference group by the Department of Sustainability and Environment and the preparation of ‘assessment guidelines’ for the project,” Wood said.

“These guidelines will be available for public review and comment in the next few months and will form the basis on which an Environment Effects Statement will be prepared by Origin Energy in the second half of 2005.”

The project has the backing of the local municipality, Moyne Shire Council, and in mid December 2004, Origin Energy undertook the first of a series of public information days at Mortlake, Garvoc and Timboon. Public information and community consultation activities will continue throughout the project development, the company said.