The State Government and AquaSure continue to liaise and provide information to their key stakeholders and the public following completion of the project.
These liaison activities include:
- Letter box drops of works notifications for neighbours;
- School liaison;
- Site tours and;
- Community newsletters.
Information on the project can also be found on at Aquasure or by calling the free call information line on 1800 811 214.
Community consultation has played an important part in developing the project, such as the community engagement involved in the Environment Effects Statement (EES) which included:
- Direct meetings with landowners on the pipeline route;
- Forums for local business, environment, tourism and recreational groups;
- Focus groups, council liaison meetings and feedback from displays and briefings.
The information communities provided helped to form the EES and the performance requirements that guide the project, resulting in its state-of-the-art design and environmental management processes.
For example, community comments about how the plant would look in the coastal environment led to the government setting strict requirements on building design.
AquaSure responded with an innovative plant design that blends low profile buildings into the landscape, includes a living green roof, rehabilitates the coastal dune and wetlands environments and incorporates community recreation trails.
DELWP and AquaSure are continuing to work with the project's neighbours, local communities and key stakeholders.
While the key benefit of the Victorian Desalination Project is a rainfall independent water supply, there are a number of local and state-wide social and economic benefits that flow from a large construction project and guaranteed water supply.
Jobs and economy
The project created:
- 10,500 jobs over the period since the project began (4500 at the peak of construction);
- 50 full-time equivalent jobs during operation and further contract positions;
- Economic boost during construction with three quarters of $1.2 billion worth of contracts going to Victorian and Australian companies.
Secure local water
Six offtake points along the 84km pipeline mean desalinated water can be delivered to local water authorities. The pipeline is two-way, which means local water authorities also have access to Melbourne water storages for the first time.
For further water security for South Gippsland Water customers, a separate $5 million pipeline now connects Wonthaggi, Inverloch and Cape Paterson to the desalination plant, securing the long-term water future of the region.
The towns' main water supply will continue to be the Lance Creek storage system and South Gippsland Water will be able to take desalinated water if and when required, giving ongoing security of supply.
The Environment Effects Statement identified some sections of road that could be improved to help manage traffic related to the project.
The Victorian Government committed $12 million to upgrade roads, reconstruct car parks and build roundabouts in the Wonthaggi area. These works went beyond that and included improvements to Webb Road, West Area Road and Graham Street.
A major ecological restoration project saw the degraded farm land the plant is built on be regenerated with millions of native plants trees to recreate the coastal environment. New dunes were created and wetlands, woodlands and coastal heath was established to provide habitat for native animals. 8 kilometres of recreational trails for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders were also created on the site, which now also includes public amenities, picnic and BBQ shelters, boardwalks, information points and a bird hide.