ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we have to wait the 21/40 days to verify a SER?

Submissions from the notification process need to be incorporated into the SER before it can be verified. By verifying a SER, you are signing that it meets the requirements of the EP&A Act. This cannot be done if you are part way through a consultation process that is required under the EP&A Act. The EP&A Act requires Ausgrid to give due consideration all submissions, and requires that those considerations form part of Ausgrid's determination under the EP&A Act.

Furthermore, the legislation is written in a way which doesn't include exemptions for early responses (ie " take into consideration any response to the notice that is received within 21 days after the notice is given").

Additional risks include public perceptions about approving a project part way through the consultation process and schedulers/contractors incorrectly assuming there will be no more material changes.

Is there any situation where we could verify a SER before the 21/40 day period?

Ausgrid's position is that a SER should not be verified until the 21/40 day notification periods have ended.

There may be exceptional cases where a deviation from this policy is justified. These cases would need to be carefully considered taking into account legal, environmental, community and other risks. As a minimum it is likely that these cases would require: 

  • a written response from the relevant Local Council has been received stating that they do not object to or have any comments in relation to the proposal; and
  • there is a justified reason why the 40 days notification cannot be achieved; and
  • approval has been given by Manager - Environmental Services



How do I avoid holding up a project?

In order to avoid potential delays to work due to the notification process it is suggested that either: 

  • start preparing the SER early to allow for the 40 days prior to scheduling
  • send an 'Assessed' but not 'Verified' SER to the contractor to allow for quoting etc.
  • send the notification letters earlier by sending a concept plan (note that the detailed design doesn't have to be completed before a notification letter is sent to council)

Do I have to re-notify if the scope changes after consultation?

The scope of a project could change because of technical requirements or in response to submissions received during the notification period. Whether a re-notification is required will depend on the nature of the changes.

If the changes result in triggering a new notification requirement (such as new adjoining neighbours etc.) then additional notification is required.

If the changes result in a substantially different project or is likely to result in new objections then it would be prudent to re-notify relevant parties.

To help avoid a re-notification trigger and potential delays, concept plans submitted to Council should include a description of all potential works and may include options and a larger footprint impact area to allow for flexibility of design.

If in doubt, contact Environmental Services.

What works do not need a notification?

Although exempt development doesn't need the 21 days notice (as would otherwise be required by SEPP (Infrastructure) 2007), if the works are not routine maintenance and repairs, the project will still need 40 days notification under the Electricity Supply Act 1995.

Most urgent works should fall under the definition of emergency works or routine repairs or maintenance and will not require a SER or 21/40 days notification.

What templates should I use to notify?

See standard template letters.

How long is a SER valid for?

Under the legislation, a SER under Part 5 of the EP&A Act, and it's associated notifications, does not expire. As the environment can change between the time a SER is verified and construction commencing, a SER should be revisited if 2 years have lapsed since verification to ensure that any sensitive environmental issues including heritage items, contamination, threatened species, etc. have not changed. As a comparison, Development Applications approved by local council under Part 4 of the EP&A Act are generally valid between two and five years, depending on their conditions of approval.

What is meant by adjoining or adjacent?  
Adjoining SEPP