The Golden Beach gas field is located in Victorian state waters in the Gippsland basin, approximately 3 kilometres offshore from Golden Beach and 20 kilometres from the Longford Gas Hub and associated strategic pipeline infrastructure. The Golden Beach Gas Project proposes to take the Golden Beach gas field to commercial gas production and gas storage. The Project will provide an additional supply of gas into the south-east Australian gas market via the Eastern Gas Pipeline operated by Jemena and the Victorian Transmission system operated by APA.

AECOM was engaged to manage and prepare the Golden Beach Gas Project Environment Effects Statement (EES) and associated environmental approvals. Work undertaken involved the development of a study program and scoping of the specialist assessments, implementation of the study program including management of a multi-disciplinary team comprising specialists from AECOM and other organisations, leading consultation with regulators and project stakeholders, and preparation of the necessary EES documentation to meet regulatory and technical requirements to provide the Minister for Planning with the required information to make an informed decision on the Project.

Our team prepared the main EES chapters and documentation for the public exhibition of the EES, including coordination of the supporting technical studies and associated attachments such as the Pipeline Licence Application and Cultural Heritage Management Plan. Other tasks included the finalisation of the EPA Works Approval (Development Licence) for formal submission to the Victorian Environment Protection Authority.

The role required proactive consultation with regulators and project stakeholders and effective navigation of the Technical Reference Group process which enabled the preparation of an EES in accordance with Commonwealth and State legislative requirements. The project involved the potential for impacts to significant biodiversity values, particularly native vegetation, flora and fauna species and ecological communities, including a Ramsar listed wetlands of international importance (Lake Reeve). For the EES, demonstration of the suitability of assessment and proposed management of significant biodiversity values to key regulators was critical.

The Minister’s assessment in April 2021 endorsed the findings of the Inquiry and Panel Report. It concluded that the project’s potential significant environmental effects and risks are acceptable provided that it is implemented in accordance with the Minister’s assessment and the recommended changes to the mitigation measures.