The State Government will ultimately decide whether quarrying can be re-established with the existing quarry and extracting new reserves via the EES process with a new Work Plan and Work Authority.
The Minister for Planning has decided that an Environment Effects Statement (EES) is required as the project has the potential for a range of significant environmental effects.
In particular, the project is likely to have effects on:
i) native vegetation and associated biodiversity values, including listed threatened species and communities;
ii) existing landscape values, amenity and land uses of the project area.
iii) groundwater, surface water and protected beneficial uses;
iv) Aboriginal cultural heritage values;
An EES will enable statutory decision makers (Ministers, local government and statutory authorities) to make decisions about whether a project with potential environmental effects should proceed, or not.
An EES is an integrated assessment process which will ensure the range of potential adverse effects and related uncertainties are sufficiently investigated, in terms of both their extent and significance, and how potential effects can be avoided and minimised during operation of the quarry.
The EES will enable a transparent and rigorous process for consideration of any potential impacts of the project, prior to any relevant statutory decisionmaking and the issuing of statutory approvals.
The EES process, in particular at the Scoping phase, ensures all necessary environmental and social impact studies are completed and, importantly, gives the community the broadest opportunity to participate and contribute.
As part of the EES process, Hillview Quarries is required to prepare and display the engagement they are will be undertaking with the Community and Stakeholders on the DELWP website.Throughout preparation of the EES, Hillview will meet with the community and will organise meetings with neighbours, community sessions, site visits and giving updates via the dedicated website www.boundaryroadproject.com.au to gain feedback. We are encouraging the community to get involved throughout the process.
More formally, the community will have an opportunity to comment on the Scoping Requirements which will guide the scope of the investigations as well as through the exhibition of the EES and an opportunity to present any concerns and submissions at the subsequent public hearing before a Ministerial Inquiry panel.
Firstly, Hillview is no longer proposing to run a landfill from the site and no application is being made to do so.
Instead, due to ongoing demand for rock resources to fuel the growing demand in Victoria of infrastructure and housing there is a need to recommence works at the quarry. What we do know through our resource investigations is that there are significant high quality stone resources remaining at the Boundary Road site. New technology and techniques enable this resource to be accessed efficiently and sensitively.
Also driving the need to reopen the Boundary Road Quarry is that the reserves at Hillview Quarry Drive site are diminishing and there has been an unprecedented increase in construction materials demand as Victoria’s population continues to boom, effectively making the Boundary Road project a necessary resource to boost supplies of hard rock.
Given the nature of the project and its potential impacts, Hillview Quarries was required under the EES legislation to refer the Boundary Road Quarry project to the Minister for Planning to determine whether an EES was required.
The Minister for Planning has determined that an EES is required to be prepared for the project due to the potential for a range of environmental effects. If an EES is required to be prepared, the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 states that aplanning permit is not required for the use and development of the land for an extractive industry. This is on the basis that the EES process is a thorough assessment process. If approval is issued, then these approvals (the Work Authority and Work Plan) contain all the conditions to manage the amenity impacts of the quarry that would otherwise be in a Council planning permit.
We believe that the EES process allows all necessary environmental and social impact studies to be completed and gives Council and community the broadest opportunity to contribute.
Aspects of the project have been referred to the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to determine where the project is a ‘controlled action’ and further assessment is required.
While the referral is being assessed, there is a public exhibition period of 10 days.
This approval relates to EPBC listed flora and fauna only
Hillview has undertaken care and maintenance activities at the Boundary Road site as required. A rehabilitation bond has always been in place. A plan for the rehabilitation of the site for this work will be undertaken when the quarry reserves are exhausted.
Hillview takes its environmental responsibilities seriously. We have a full-time horticulturist who ensures all rehabilitation is appropriately managed with trees propagated in our own nursery from seeds collected from trees on site.
More recently, Hillview has also provided financial support to various organisations including the Habitat Restoration Fund to enable the rehabilitation and weed control of the neighbouring Arthurs Seat State Park around the OT Dam area.
We are seeking approval to quarry for as long as the site can provide a valuable resource. At this stage we do not have a fixed timeframe for how long that could be.
Progressive rehabilitation will occur where required in the work plan.
The Boundary Road quarry is on private land owned by the RE Ross Trust so there is no obligation to provide the land as State park.
Preliminary investigations show that significant rock reserves are present on the site and there is significant demand for this resource. The productive use of the land will provide an important income to the RE Ross Trust via Hillview Quarries to continue to operate for the next generations as well as to fulfil the state’s growing demand for stone for building and construction. These materials are needed to build roads and houses for our future generations and we believe this site can play a key role in making them available.
Re-establishing quarry operations and accessing the potential resources at Boundary Road would also ensure continued direct employment for around 35 people.
All profits from the quarry go to the RE Ross charitable trust, which has funded more than $110 million in Victorian projects that address disadvantage and inequity; encourage and promote social inclusiveness, community connectedness, health and wellbeing; and protect and preserve Australian flora and fauna.
As the resource is at the end of its useful life, and the site is rehabilitated, a process will be undertaken to determine the future use(s) for the site.
If the Boundary Road site is approved, we will transition our operation at Hillview Quarry Drive as the resource at that site are depleting. Surveys indicate there are less than 8 years of reserves available in the footprint covered by the current Work Plan at Hillview Quarry Drive. However, this is dependent upon demand.
The Hillview Quarry Drive site will be rehabilitated as required under the Work Authority and current planning permit. It is privately owned land and the future use of the rehabilitated site will be considered at the relevant time when the rehabilitation has occurred.
Quarries operate in accordance with an approved ‘Work Plan.’ The Work Plan is prepared with input from the Council, EPA, DELWP and other State agencies. These issues will be assessed through the EES.
The EPA has State-wide standards that govern noise, vibration and dust limits and these will be strictly managed and complied with.
The work plan will set out and govern the conditions for the quarry operations including crushing, sales, blasting and other activities as part of the extractive industry operations at the site. The Work Plan will contain conditions relating to hours of operation, monitoring and management of impacts and rehabilitation.
These are issues that are reviewed as part of the approvals process and the site is designed in a way to mitigate the impacts. We will discuss these matters with the community during the course of the EES and the community will be able to make submissions on issues of concern that will be taken into account by decision-makers.
The Minister for Planning has determined that an EES is required for the project.
The EES is an integrated assessment and is necessary to ensure the range of likely adverse effects and related uncertainties are sufficiently investigated, in terms of both their extent and significance, and how potential effects can be avoided and minimised during the operation of the project.
The EES is a transparent and rigorous process for consideration of potential adverse effects of the project, prior to any relevant statutory decision-making, including under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990, Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006, and Environment Protection Act 1970 and Water Act 1989.
By the end of the EES process, Commonwealth (if required), State and other decision makers will be in a position to make informed decisions about whether to issue the permits and approvals to enable the Boundary Road site to re-open and if permits are issued, the decision makers will ensure appropriate conditions to manage the impacts of the quarry operations.