20 December 2022
Central West Pumped Hydro Project Update
Merry Christmas! We hope the latest Central West Pumped Hydro e-newsletter finds you well. We send you and your family all the very best for a safe, peaceful and relaxing Christmas and holiday period.

We say it every year, but this year seems to have flown by quicker than most, and not without the effects of COVID-19 still impacting our communities, and then there was the challenging weather to contend with.

Here’s to a positive and prosperous 2023 as we look back on 2022.
2022 Overview
The EPBC Referral

As detailed in the last community update, a referral under Federal environment legislation (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act) was submitted to the Federal Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) to confirm if the proposed Project may have the potential to impact on some federally listed fauna species.

As expected, the outcome of the EPBC Referral was a Controlled Action.

What does this mean? It means that the Project will require assessment and approval under the EPBC Act before it can proceed. The assessment required is for federally listed threatened species and communities. The assessment, which will be included in the EIS, will be undertaken as part of the bilateral agreement between the Federal Government and NSW Government.

The Project’s assessment criteria, known as the SEARs, has been updated to reflect the DCCEEW’s additional assessment requirements. You can view the SEARs at the Department of Planning and Environment’s (DPE) Planning Portal HERE

The information associated with the relevant assessments will be available in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for comment during the public exhibition period next year.
Save the date - Community information sessions planned for 2023

  • Monday 13 February: Community information session at the O’Connell Rural Fire Shed starting at 7pm.

  • March/April: Community open days at Bathurst, Yetholme and O’Connell – details to follow
An update on the Environmental Impact Statement
The project team is in the late stages of finalising the various materials and reports that make up the EIS.

An additional step is being undertaken which independently certifies the EIS prior to lodgment to the DPE in early 2023. The pre-assessment will be conducted by a Registered Environmental Assessment Practitioner (REAP), and will ensure that the EIS submission meets the assessment criteria of the Project in line with the SEARs and other standards.

Once submitted, the DPE will validate the EIS, making sure it meets the various requirements, and will then make the EIS available for public exhibition via the DPE Planning Portal.

The public consultation period will be open for at least 28 days.

We will ensure that the dates of the public consultation period and the progress of the EIS through the assessment process are shared via this newsletter and on our website. 
Boys to the Bush deliver cultural program funded by
ATCO's 2022 Communities Fund
Boys to the Bush Ltd. is a community based charity that focuses on prevention and early intervention strategies for young people. Boys to the Bush offer a range of programs aimed at supporting young people to become the best possible versions of themselves as they become young adults.

Boys to the Bush (BttB) was successful in applying for the 2022 Communities Fund. The grant was used to deliver a six week school-based cultural program with students from Denison College - Kelso Campus.

Throughout the program, the boys were able to go onto Country and visit sites at Peel, Lidsdale and Borenore Caves. They spent time with mentors including Gerald Power from Indigenous Cultural Adventures, who talked to the boys about bush tucker and sharing the health benefits of First Nations food. They also made fantastic coolamons.

The program wrapped up at the end of Term 4, with Kurt Hancock, BttB Community Manager, expressing his thanks to ATCO for their support.

"The school based cultural program was an excellent way to re-engage with students from Kelso High, and share some really important messages and experiences with them. Thanks to ATCO, we were able to fund a BttB mentor to be onsite at the school to lead this program," said Kurt.
Boys to the Bush participants and Blake, BttB mentor, presenting
Kimbalee from ATCO, with a coolamon at the programs wrap up
Christmas Holidays

Thank you to everyone for your contribution, feedback and interest in the CWPH Project throughout 2022. We look forward to seeing you again next year.

The local ATCO Bathurst Office will be closed from Tuesday 20 December and reopen on Monday 9 January for the Christmas Holiday period. In this time, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] or call 1800 94 79 79.
Once again, we wish you and your families a wonderful Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.