Oven Mountain EIS – submissions by 16 October 2023

Updated 10-10-2023

The EIS documents for Oven Mountain Pumped Hydro Energy Storage are now on Exhibition as Critical State Significant Infrastructure by the Department of Planning and Environment.


An exhibition process allows any individual or organisation to have their say about a proposed development.

The application, environmental impact statement, and accompanying documents are on exhibition from Tuesday 19 September 2023 until Monday 16 October 2023.

This means that there is not much time to scrutinise and respond to the extensive material.  Supported by State and Federal subsidies of approx 12 million dollars, it took the proponents several years to prepare and the Department of Planning and Environment six months to exhibit the documents. The public now has less than four weeks to write submissions. 

To assist you, SOMR has prepared a Guide to writing Submissions to the OMPHS DA for your consideration.

Click links for the Submission Template, Summary and Detail Issues and SOMR’s current Broad Conclusions

We have not yet been able to read, absorb and respond to the full DA & EIS with 27 technical Appendices (some 9000 pages in all) please regard the documents as ‘Preliminary’.

Paddle on the Macleay 2023

Held on Sunday 17 September, coinciding with the Gladstone Quality Markets, was attended by some 11 craft with 14 paddlers. The hot weather was tempered by the cool water. Reception, paddling by the Markets was as warm at the weather!

Paddlers parked at Gladstone Markets
Paddlers ‘parked’ at Gladstone Markets

Working with the tide resulted in an easy and comfortable chatty paddle. Some ripe overhanging mulberries offered sustenance!

Feasting on mulberrries
Feasting on Mulberries

Everybody asked, where will we paddle next year?

Click here for Directions and Registration Form

Upcoming events and issues


Our Macleay River Inc (SOMR) Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday 12 August in West Kempsey.
If you are not yet a member, you are encouraged to join this group of local residents working diligently on many issues effecting the catchment. The membership application form is attached below. The individual membership fee for one year is $10; for a family it is $20. Up to 3 Years membership options are available on the form. 

Click to download SOMR Membership and Membership Renewal forms.  
It would be even better if you get actively involved. It is fun to keep an eye on polluters, gather information, go on fact finding tours, disseminate the facts and have informed discussions at the meetings. SOMR members will get more detailed information.

SOMR is planning the 2023 Paddle on the Macleay at Smithtown-Gladstone
Date: Sunday 17 September
This is to coincide with Gladstone Quality Markets and SOMR will set up an information stall there. The launch point will be in Smithtown. Returning there, no car shuffle is needed.
More details to come soon.

Armidale Regional Council (ARC) Local government area includes just over one third of the north western area of Macleay Catchment, some 5,000 of the 14450 square km of catchment.  
The population and general water demand has been relatively stable with minor variations until a major global, and then later other, ‘intensive horticulture industries’ established around Guyra and Armidale.
The 2018-20 drought put these high water-consumption ‘Intensive Horticulture industries’ under pressure for water to continue supply of produce.  ARC decided to carry out many drastic actions to assist these industries; including trucking and pumping large amounts water.
Read more

As reported previously, the Oven Mountain Pumped Hydro Storage (OMPHS) proponents lodged their documents relating to the project’s environmental impacts with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) just before the NSW State election. Ever since, it has been a wait for the DoPIE to publish the documents and the time frame for lodging submissions (usually a minimum of 28 days are given). The SOMR Secretary has prepared sample submission letters and a list of issues to address. This material will be made available to the members and interested parties as soon as the OMPHS EIS and DA are placed on formal exhibition. According to a project update published by the proponents in early July 23 this is expected to occur “within the coming months.” 
This means that we might still wait for months until we learn about the anticipated impact of the project and are able to write informed submissions..
In the meantime, the company is promoting the project at public meetings, sponsoring events like the “Bellbrook Farmers Challenge” and the “Northwest Regional Career Expo”.