Planning approvals

Planning approvals for North East Link will be informed by an Environment Effects Statement (EES) — our state’s most stringent process.

What is an EES?

An Environment Effects Statement (EES) is a comprehensive document that outlines:

  • The proposed project design
  • An assessment of the expected changes to the existing environment (positive and negative)
  • How we have considered input from and issues raised by communities and stakeholders
  • Proposed approach to avoid, minimise or manage negative impacts. Examples might include a tree protection plan and tree replacement program, design standards to waterproof tunnels and construction noise standards. The minimum environmental outcomes that must be achieved for design, construction and operation will be detailed in draft Environmental Performance Requirements.

What is assessed?

The EES for North East Link will include 18 different studies:

  • Aboriginal cultural heritage
  • Air quality
  • Arboriculture
  • Business
  • Ecology (flora, fauna and aquatic)
  • Greenhouse gas
  • Ground movement
  • Groundwater
  • Historic heritage
  • Human health
  • Land contamination
  • Land use planning
  • Landscape and visual
  • Noise
  • Social and community
  • Surface water
  • Traffic and transport
  • Vibration.

We will prepare the EES. An independent panel and the Minister for Planning will review it.

As part of the EES, we are required to prepare a Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP). The plan will be used to determine the nature of any Aboriginal cultural heritage that could be affected and propose measures to manage and protect it. We are working with the Wurundjeri to develop the CHMP for North East Link.

Who is involved?

The Minister for Planning decides whether an EES is required.

The Minister for Planning sets the scoping requirements (the matters to be investigated) for each study area.

The North East Link Authority is responsible for preparing the EES, and will submit it to the Minister for Planning in 2019.

The Minister for Planning will appoint an independent panel to review the EES and public submissions received and make recommendations.

The Minister will then make an assessment of the environmental effects. The assessment may conclude that the project:

  • Will have acceptable environmental effects
  • Will have unacceptable environmental effects
  • Needs modifications or additional environmental performance requirements to achieve acceptable outcomes.

The Minister’s assessment will inform other government decision makers on the key planning approvals required for North East Link to proceed.

For more information about the EES process visit the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

Timeline

Project corridor selected

2018: EES preparation

  • EES declared and existing conditions assessments start
  • Community design update – number 1
  • Draft EES scoping requirements released for public comment
  • EES impact assessments on existing conditions start
  • Community design update – number 2

2019: EES public display, panel review and approvals

  • EES public display and submissions period (30 day business days)
  • EES panel hearing
  • Project released to market
  • Minister for Planning’s Assessment of EES
  • Construction bids evaluated

2020

  • Construction starts

Your input is an important part of the EES process

You can:

  • Comment on the draft EES scoping requirements
  • Give feedback on key areas of the project design and tell us about issues or concerns as we prepare the EES throughout 2018
  • Make a submission to the independent panel when the EES is on public display early in 2019.

Developing the project design

We’re adopting a performance based approach to design.

This means we’re defining the outcomes that must be achieved and leaving the option open for construction companies to suggest improvements. This could be by adopting a more efficient construction technique or applying a more effective design solution.

Throughout 2018 we’ll be developing and refining a reference design for North East Link. A reference design lets us:

  • Understand what could feasibly be built, show communities design concepts and get feedback
  • Identify and assess possible impacts for the EES and develop relevant and realistic Environmental Performance Requirements.

We’ll give copies of the reference design to construction firms invited to bid to build North East Link.

They will be encouraged to make proposals to enhance or improve the design but their bid must show how they would meet all the Environmental Performance Requirements.

We’ll define what the design needs to achieve, but leave the ’how’ open to innovation and ideas from industry.

Commonwealth approvals

North East Link will be assessed by the Australian Government under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity 1999 Act (EPBC Act).

This year we are preparing a draft Public Environment Report (PER) to assess potential impacts on listed threatened species and communities, listed migratory species and environment on Commonwealth lands. The PER will be made available for public comment when it is completed.

Community engagement

We encourage you to get involved before the EES goes on display in 2019. Some ways you can get involved while we prepare the EES this year include:

  • Talk to your Community Liaison Group about local issues and opportunities. The groups include representatives from the community, local government and businesses.
  • Come to information displays to view design updates and talk to our specialists. There will be 2 design updates this year.
  • Join a community workshop to talk about design opportunities and challenges in your area.
  • Visit our website and join online conversations.
  • Talk to us on social media.

Your feedback is important to us.

Community Liaison Groups

Two Community Liaison Groups (CLGs) have been established to keep communities up to date on the project planning and approvals phase and help support community engagement.

The CLGs are independently chaired by Michael Marasco and represent two different areas of the project:

  • M80 up to and including the Manningham Road interchange
  • Bulleen Road and the Eastern Freeway.

They include representatives from:

  • local business
  • local residents
  • Wurundjeri tribe (traditional owners)
  • schools (youth representatives)
  • disability groups
  • environmental and action groups
  • councils
  • VicRoads.

Importantly, they include community representatives who can help connect their community and the North East Link Authority.

If you have any concerns, ideas or feedback related to North East Link, we encourage you to contact your local CLG representative.

For more information about CLG members and contact details visit our Community Liaison Group page or call 1800 105 105.