AGL Crib Point Gas Import Jetty and Pipeline Project

AGL and APA Group are jointly proposing a new Gas Import Jetty & Pipeline Project (GIJPP) for Crib Point. The project seeks to import liquefied natural gas at Crib Point and transfer it to the Victorian Transmission System (VTS) east of Pakenham via a new high-pressure pipeline.

The purpose of the project is to secure a new gas supply for industrial, commercial and residential AGL customers in south-eastern Australia to meet a projected domestic shortfall and improve gas supply certainty from 2024 or earlier.

Importantly, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council does not have any decision-making powers with respect to this project. The decision on whether to approve the project rests entirely with the State and Federal Governments.

The proposal comprises two main components:

Gas Import Jetty Works (AGL)

  • Continuous mooring of a ship known as a Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) at Berth 2 of the existing Crib Point Jetty. The FSRU has the capacity to store and convert liquid natural gas (LNG) to a natural gaseous state; and
  • Construction of new infrastructure such as marine loading arms and piping on the existing Crib Point Jetty to transfer the gas from the FSRU to a new above ground receiving facility onshore at Crib Point. The Crib Point Receiving Facility would include facilities to inject odorant and nitrogen (as required) into the gas to meet Victorian Transmission System (VTS) quality specifications.

Pipeline Works (APA Group)

  • Construction of a 57km high-pressure gas pipeline to transport the gas from the Crib Point Receiving Facility to the VTS east of Pakenham; and
  • Construction of an above ground delivery facility east of Pakenham to monitor, regulate and deliver the gas into the VTS for distribution throughout Victoria and south-east Australia.

AGL is responsible for the Gas Import Jetty Works whilst APA Group is responsible for the Pipeline Works. All details about the project can be found on the project’s website.

Council unanimously resolved to oppose the project at the 17 August 2020 Planning Services Committee (PSC) Meeting. (A recording of the meeting can be viewed here and minutes are available here). Council is presenting its case against the project at the Crib Point Inquiry and Advisory Committee (IAC) Public Hearing in line with the Shire’s adopted submission.

Alongside the IAC Hearing, Council continues to lobby local State and Federal Members of Parliament to support the Shire in opposing the project.

Details about the project approvals process, IAC, Public Hearing, Council’s representation at the Hearing and how community members can lobby local MPs are provided below.

To send a message to the State and Federal governments that the Mornington Peninsula community does not want the AGL Crib Point gas project, we urge the community to write to State and Federal members of parliament.

State

The Hon. Richard Wynne, Minister for Planning
Tenancy 2, Ground Floor 188-196 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065
richard.wynne@parliament.vic.gov.au

The Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for Energy, Environment & Climate Change
Level 16, 8 Nicholson St, East Melbourne, VIC 3002
lily.dambrosio@parliament.vic.gov.au

The Hon. Lisa Neville, Minister for Water
G066, Gateway Plaza, 641-659 Bellarine Highway, Leopold, VIC 3224
lisa.neville@parliament.vic.gov.au

Chris Brayne MP, State Member for Nepean
Shop1, McCrae Plaza, 739 Point Nepean Road, McCrae, VIC 3938
Chris.Brayne@parliament.vic.gov.au

David Morris MP, State Member for Mornington
Shop1, 321 Main Street, Mornington VIC 3931
david.morris@parliament.vic.gov.au

Neale Burgess MP, State Member for Hastings
Po Box 909, Somerville VIC 3192
neale.burgess@parliament.vic.gov.au

Federal

The Hon. Sussan Ley MP, Federal Minister for the Environment
PO Box 672, Albury NSW 2640
sussan.ley.mp@aph.gov.au

The Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Federal Member for Flinders
PO Box 647 Somerville, Vic 3912
Greg.Hunt.MP@aph.gov.au

The following wording may help you in writing your own email:

I am writing to express my strong opposition to AGL’s proposal for a Gas Import Jetty and Pipeline Project at Crib Point and to urge you to do all you can to ensure this proposal does not proceed.

I am deeply concerned about the impacts of this project on Western Port’s internationally significant Ramsar wetlands and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve as well as on the endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot and Merran’s Sun-orchid, water diving birds, penguins, pinnipeds and migrating humpback and southern right whales.

In addition to threatening our precious Western Port coastal and marine environment, the project is also an investment in fossil fuels and very much out of step with Australia’s transition to renewable energy.

I am also seriously concerned about the impacts of this project on our local community with respect to traffic and associated hazards on our local roads, as well as noise impacts on nearby residents during construction and operation.

I therefore seek your urgent support in calling for this project to be rejected and for all levels of government to work together to pursue safe and affordable energy alternatives that will not threaten the environment and exacerbate climate change.

I hope we can rely on your leadership and support in this critical fight to protect our world-renowned environment and help lead the way to a zero emissions future.

We have a marine and coastal environment here that is truly special. Western Port deserves better.

The project requires a range of State and Commonwealth approvals to proceed as outlined below.

Environmental Effects Statement (EES)

On 8 October 2018, the Minister required AGL and APA Group to prepare an Environment Effects Statement (EES) for the project under the Environmental Effects Act 1978. The purpose of the EES is to assess the potential environmental, social and economic impacts of the project and identify measures to avoid, mitigate, minimise or offset these impacts.

On 28 November 2018, the Commonwealth Minister for Environment determined that the project also requires assessment and approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act) due to the potential for the projects to have significant impacts on the internationally significant Western Port Ramsar site, listed migratory species, and listed threatened species and ecological communities.

The EES will serve as the accredited assessment process for the purpose of the EPBC Act under a Bilateral Assessment Agreement between the Commonwealth and Victorian governments.

The proponents have prepared the EES according to requirements set by the Victorian Minister for Planning with oversight from the Impact Assessment Unit within the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).

The Minister appointed a Technical Reference Group (TRG) comprising a range of inter-agency stakeholders to provide technical advice to the proponents and DELWP regarding the scoping and adequacy of the EES studies and documentation, as well as co-ordination of the EES process with other statutory approval processes.

Mornington Peninsula Shire was part of the TRG and engaged a range of technical experts to assist in reviewing draft documentation on the Shire’s behalf. The TRG process concluded in early 2020.

Planning Scheme Amendment C272morn

Unlike the Pipeline Works, the Gas Import Jetty component of the project requires planning approval to proceed. The project proponents have proposed an amendment to the Mornington Peninsula Planning Scheme to facilitate this approval. Known as Amendment C272morn, the amendment seeks to create a new site-specific planning control outlining all the planning requirements for the project in one integrated framework. The project would need to be constructed and operated in accordance with an ‘Incorporated Document’ forming part of the new planning framework.

Importantly, planning approvals issued under this new control would be administered by the Minister for Planning – not Council. Amendment C272morn will only proceed if the Minister approves the overall project.

As both the EES and Amendment C272morn are inter-related, the Minister has decided to determine these approvals concurrently.

Other Approvals

The other major State-based approvals required for project include:

  • a works approval under the Environment Protection Act 1970 to operate the FSRU,
  • a pipeline licence under the Pipelines Act 2005 for construction and operation of the Pipeline Works,
  • consent under the Marine and Coastal Act 2018 for the components of the Gas Import Jetty Works and Pipeline Works to which this Act applies, and
  • Cultural Heritage Management Plans (CHMPs) under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006.

At the direction of the Minister for Planning, the project's EES, Planning Scheme Amendment (C272morn), Works Approval Application and Pipeline Licence Application were placed on public exhibition for 40 business days between Thursday 2 July and Wednesday 26 August 2020.

During exhibition, municipal Councils, agencies and members of the public were invited to make a written submission on the project.

Exhibition has now closed, and no further submissions are being accepted. You can inspect all exhibited documentation on the project website free of charge. All submissions received (including Council’s) can be viewed on Engage Victoria.

Whilst exhibition is over, you can still express your views on this project by writing to local Members of Parliament as detailed below.

A joint Inquiry and Advisory Committee (IAC) has been appointed to consider the EES, Planning Scheme Amendment C272morn and Works Approval Application (WAA) prepared for the project and all public submissions received during exhibition and to advise the Minister for Planning. The IAC is also appointed as a Panel by the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change to consider and advise on the pipeline license application under the Pipelines Act 2005.

The IAC comprises Kathy Mitchell (Chair), Michael Kirsch (Deputy Chair), Jacquelle Gorski, Chris Harty and Trevor McCullough. See the IAC member biographies here.

The IAC is holding a Public Hearing to allow for:

  • The project proponents to set out their case in full and provide evidence in support of the project, and
  • Allow municipal Councils, agencies, community groups and submitters to speak to their submissions and call evidence if required.

The Hearing commenced on Monday 12 October 2020 and will run for approximately 10 weeks. Given current COVID-19 Public Health restrictions, the Hearing is occurring via video conference using Zoom and will be livestreamed to the public.

Anyone can view the proceedings via the Zoom link with the following details:

Meeting ID: 810 4993 0543

Passcode: 771844

Council strongly encourages anyone interested in the project to attend the Hearing.

Visit Engage Victoria for all further details about the Hearing, including the timetable, daily recordings, all public submissions, tabled documents and expert evidence. NOTE: This webpage is updated daily as the Hearing progresses.

Following the Public Hearing, the IAC will prepare a report for the Minister for Planning to inform the Minister’s assessment of the project. The IAC’s report must be submitted to the Minister by Monday 22 February 2021. The IAC’s report will be released to the public at the Minister’s discretion.

Council is appearing at the IAC Public Hearing jointly with Bass Coast Shire and is represented by barrister Rupert Watters, instructed by law firm Harwood Andrews.

Council is calling the following expert witnesses to provide evidence during the Hearing:

  • Mr Ed Smith of Northmore Gordon – Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Mr Chris Smitt of EHS Support – Groundwater and contaminated land impacts
  • Dr Marcus Lincoln-Smith & Dr Craig Blount of Cardno - Marine ecology and biodiversity impacts (including on water birds)
  • Ms Hilary Marshall of Ratio – Traffic and transport impacts
  • Mr Jim Antonopoulos of SLR Consulting – Noise and vibration impacts
  • Jake Ulrus of Tactecol Consulting – Terrestrial ecology impacts (including the Southern Brown Bandicoot)
  • Dr Graeme Lorimer of Biosphere – Terrestrial ecology impacts (including the Merran’s Sun Orchid)
Copies of evidence filed on Council’s behalf with the IAC can be found on Engage Victoria.

After receiving the IAC’s report, the Minister will assess the project, considering all relevant information including the EES documents, Amendment C272morn, all public submissions, the proponent’s response to submissions and the IAC report. The Minister’s written assessment will be released to all decision-makers involved in the project and the proponent within 25 days of receiving the IAC’s report.

The Minister’s assessment will make recommendations about whether the project:

  • Will have an acceptable level of environmental effects; or
  • Will not have an acceptable level of environmental effects; or
  • Would need major modifications and/or further investigations to establish that acceptable outcomes would be achieved.

In making a final decision on the project, government and statutory decision-makers must consider the Minister’s assessment. While the Minister’s assessment provides recommendations and is authoritative advice, it is not binding on decision-makers.

During public exhibition of the EES and associated project documentation, Council held two online community information sessions to assist the community in understanding the approvals process and Council’s adopted position on the project. Copies of the presentations, video recordings and written responses to community questions raised during each session are provided below.

Community Information Session - 19 August 2020

AGL & APA Group Gas Import Project - Presentation - 19 August 2020

Community Questions & Answers

Community Information Session - 16 July 2020

AGL & APA Group Gas Import Project - Presentation - 16 July 2020

Community Questions & Answers

Prior to, and during public exhibition of the project, Council wrote to the Minister for Planning regarding the timing and duration of exhibition. These letters, and the Minister’s response, are provided below.

  • 27 April 2020 - Council’s first letter to the Minister requesting postponement and extension of public exhibition
  • 21 July 2020 - Council’s second letter to the Minister requesting postponement and extension of public exhibition
  • 8 August 2020 - The Minister’s letter refusing Council’s second request to postpone and extend public exhibition

For questions about the Crib Point AGL Gas Import Jetty Project, all project documentation (including EES and Amendment C272morn), and to subscribe to project updates please contact:

AGL Gas Import Jetty Project & APA Crib Point-Pakenham Gas Pipeline Project

Phone: 1800 039 600 or 1800 531 811

Email: AGLcommunity@agl.com.au or cribpointpakenham@apa.com.au

Website: gasimportprojectvictoria.com.au/

For questions about the Crib Point Inquiry & Advisory Committee (IAC) please contact:

Planning Panels Victoria

Phone: 136 186

Email: cribpoint.IAC@delwp.vic.gov.au

Website: https://engage.vic.gov.au/crib-point-IAC

For questions about the Minister's Assessment and EES process, please contact:

Impact Assessment Unit, DELWP

Phone: (03) 8392 5503

Email: environment.assessment@delwp.vic.gov.au

Website: planning.vic.gov.au/environment-assessment/browse-projects/projects/crib-point

For questions about the Works Approval Application, please contact:

EPA Victoria

Phone: 1300 372 842

Website: www.epa.vic.gov.au/our-work/licences-and-approvals

For questions about the Pipeline License Application please contact:

Pipeline Regulator Victoria

Phone: 136 186

Email: pipeline.regulation@delwp.vic.gov.au

For questions about the Port of Hastings please contact:

Port of Hastings Development Authority

Phone: 5979 5500

Email: enquiries@portofhastings.com

Website: www.portofhastings.com

For questions about catchment management, please contact:

Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority:

Phone: (03) 8781 7900

Fax: (03) 9781 0199

Email: enquiries@ppwcma.vic.gov.au

Website: www.ppwcma.vic.gov.au/