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Western Outer Ring Main Project Update

Compulsory Acquisition: 10 July 2020

The Western Outer Ring Main Project (the Project) is a proposed high pressure, buried, gas transmission pipeline approximately 50km in length that will run from Plumpton to Wollert and is to be constructed by APA VTS (Operations) Pty Ltd (APA).

On 22 December 2019, the Minister for Planning published that APA will be required to prepare an Environment Effects Statement (EES) to assess the potential environmental effects of the Project.

The Minister for Planning is currently preparing drafting scoping requirements for the EES studies that will be required to be undertaken by APA and this will include the matters to be investigated and documented in the EES. Once the Minister for Planning has prepared the draft scoping requirements these will be placed on public exhibition for at least 15 business days to allow for public comment before the requirements are finalised and put to APA. Once the scoping requirements are finalised, APA will be required to complete an EES for public exhibition.

Once the EES is completed and released for public comment upon receipt of the submissions the Minister will consider whether an Independent Advisory Committee (IAC) will need to be appointed to consider the EES and the effects of the Project. If an IAC panel hearing occurs and recommendations are made by the IAC the Minister for Planning will then assess the EES and the IAC panel report and provide an assessment on the EES and the Project as to whether the Project will have an acceptable level of environmental effect or not. If the Minister for Planning recommends that the Project proceeds, then APA will need to apply for their Pipeline Licence to construct.

In the meantime, we expect that APA will be seeking agreement with landowners to obtain easements to construct the pipeline to build the Project. It is important that impacted landowners, tenants and occupants understand the voluntary negotiation process and the potential rights to compensation they may have as a result of granting an easement in favour of APA.

It is important that if you believe you may be impacted by the Project that you understand your rights in relation to:

  • things to consider if you intend to enter into voluntary negotiation with APA;
  • what APA must do and how they should act when needing to access land for investigative works;
  • the process APA must follow if they proceed to compulsorily acquire land;
  • an overview of legal rights to compensation; and
  • an overview as to how compensation is assessed and calculated.

If you have an interest in a property as a landowner, tenant or occupant and you will be (or believe you may be) impacted by the Project and would like a greater understanding of your rights, please feel free to contact us to arrange a mutually convenient time to discuss your queries.

About Us

Aitken Partners Compulsory Acquisition Team has more than two decades of combined experience in representing landowners, tenants and business owners in compulsory acquisition claims in most (if not all) of Victoria's major infrastructure projects.

If you are impacted (or believe you may be impacted) by the WORM Project, it is imperative you engage lawyers experienced in compulsory acquisition and voluntary negotiation matters to assist you in obtaining appropriate compensation. The compulsory acquisition process is covered by a unique legislative regime which does not follow standard property and conveyancing law practices.

If you are affected (or believe you may be impacted) by the WORM Project, please contact Natalie O'Flynn on 03 8600 6046 to arrange a time to speak with one of our compulsory acquisition lawyers regarding the EES process and your potential rights to compensation if you enter into voluntary negotiations with APA to grant an easement or your land is ultimately compulsorily acquired for an easement for the Project.

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