Granite Belt Water Limited commissioned 2rog to help them vary the conditions of Commonwealth approval for the Granite Belt Irrigation Project. Variation to the approval was necessary to accurately quantify and reflect the ecological values present within the project area and ensure that compensatory measures were commensurate with the impacts of the project. Discussions with both Commonwealth and State regulators also highlighted the need prepare an updated Offset Strategy to support the request for a variation and to set up the offset framework/delivery for the project.

Using contemporary and historical technical information, we analysed (and reanalysed!) ecological data, and dam and pipeline engineering designs. We even revisited the original Environmental Impact Assessment documentation to understand the intent of the original approval and how we could ensure new conditions reflected this intent but incorporated the contemporary data. We engaged in liaison with the regulators prior to submission to discuss the desired new conditions and information available to justify their suitability. This forward planning gave both the regulator and the Client confidence that we could speed up and simplify the variation process considerably.

In conjunction with this, we worked with industry partners to develop a draft offset strategy to be lodged with the variation request. The primary objective of the strategy was to give regulators confidence that a suitable offsets package could be delivered, based on the mechanisms available. We convened and facilitated a workshop to discuss the approach and map out the timeframes and deliverables required for submission.

Overall, we successfully communicated technical data in a way that gave the regulator confidence that key environmental objectives of the project would be achieved. We met key project milestone timeframes and secured approval conditions that resulted in better outcomes for both the environment and the client.