1 June 2021

Project Overview

North East Link (NEL) is the biggest road transport project in Victoria’s history – finally fixing the missing link in Melbourne’s freeway network. Up to 135,000 vehicles will use NEL every day, reducing congestion in the north east while keeping local roads for local trips.

There will be some impacts to businesses during construction and the North East Link Program (NELP) is committed to working with businesses to understand and manage these.

When complete North East Link will provide significant benefits for businesses including improved accessibility, reduced local road congestion, reduced travel times and enhanced transport network safety.

North East Link is expected to deliver $250 million in economic value each year from better business connectivity, $427 million of economic value each year from better freight connectivity and give local businesses access to 62,000 more workers.


The Southern Business Liaison Group (SBLG) provides a forum for consultation and information-sharing between NELP, its key contractors and the local business community during construction of NEL. The establishment of the SBLG is in accordance with the project's Environmental Performance Requirements (EPRs) approved by the Minister for Planning in 2019.


The SBLG will initially seek membership from businesses and their representatives in these key areas:

  • Bulleen Road between Bridge Street and the Eastern Freeway
  • Templestowe Road between Bridge Street and Rosemont Drive
  • Thompsons Road between Bulleen Road and Kampman Street

As the project progresses, broader business representation will be sought from other impacted areas such as in and around the Eastern Freeway.

A separate Bulleen Industrial Zone Liaison Group will continue to operate for those businesses who form part of the acquisition process.

North East Link is expected to deliver $250 million in economic value each year from better business connectivity, $427 million of economic value each year from better freight connectivity and give local businesses access to 62,000 more workers.

Objectives of the Southern Business Liaison Group (SBLG)

The core objectives of the SBLG are to:

  • provide a forum to discuss, manage, and if possible, mitigate and minimise any local impacts to businesses
  • provide a channel for two-way communication to support the sharing of information between NELP, its contractors, the local business community, industry groups and associations
  • provide a local and broader perspective and knowledge on the project
  • contribute information on local conditions and priorities and where possible assist in resolving business community concerns that may arise
  • encourage a broad range of business representatives to participate in the delivery of NEL
  • to identify opportunities and raise awareness to the local business community of ways to get involved with NEL through supplier partnerships, job opportunities and procurement contracts.

The SBLG will assist and support construction of the NEL:

  • providing a forum for consultation and coordination between NELP, its contractors, the business community, industry groups, business associations and relevant public agencies during the design and construction phases of the project
  • supporting NELP by advising the local business community of project progress, planned construction activities and mitigation measures planned, or in place
  • informing NELP and its key contractors of specific concerns or questions from the local community, industry groups and business associations including providing timely information, suggestions or proposals for consideration by NELP and its contractors
  • discussing other matters pertaining to NELP requiring local business input and advice.

The SBLG is an advisory group and as such does not hold delegated functions or powers. Project decisions are the responsibility of NELP and its key contractors.


The SBLG will have an independent chairperson, as selected by NELP. Relevant NELP team members will attend depending on meeting agendas.

Other members will represent:

  • local businesses
  • industry groups and business associations
  • relevant councils

NELP will engage with eligible businesses and organisations seeking nominations for membership of the SBLG. Applicants must submit their applications in writing.

Nominations will be assessed according to the key elements (see below) and recommendations made to the NELP Executive for endorsement.

Candidates will be assessed and selected with consideration of the following key elements:

  • representation across the southern project area as specified under Scope
  • representation from a variety of businesses of different sizes
  • representation from a broad and diverse range of industry sectors
  • local business proprietor, property owner and/or employee
  • business acumen, experience and relevant network connections
  • ability to work collaboratively with business and government to create strong local connections
  • strong interest in the ongoing development of a prosperous and unique economy in the southern project area
  • ability to complement the skills and attributes of other members of the Group.

Representatives from the following areas are encouraged to apply:

  • Trader Associations (President or elected committee member)
  • Chambers of Commerce (Town Centre Manager, President or elected committee member)
  • Local businesses
  • Hospitality, retail, manufacturing, transport, health/aged care, not-for-profit, local industry and business groups and relevant councils.

A maximum of 2 members can represent any one business or industry group.

Member responsibilities

Members of the SBLG are required to:

  • attend SBLG meetings and actively participate in discussions
  • represent the interests and views of their local respective industry or business sector
  • share project information within their community, organisation or networks, and convey feedback at SBLG meetings
  • provide views and advice on issues raised through wider business and community feedback
  • keep issues and debates to matters relevant to NELP.
  • The Chairperson will:
  • determine a forward meeting schedule at the first meeting
  • decide priorities for each meeting
  • review issues to be dealt with (in consultation with NELP and SBLG)
  • lead the Group and facilitate discussion and participation by all members
  • maintain the proper and professional conduct of the Group.
  • If issues and ideas raised fall outside the SBLG Terms of Reference, NELP will provide information from the relevant authority (e.g. Department of Transport and Planning etc.)
  • A code of conduct must be signed by all members.

NELP and/or contractors are required to provide an update on the following at each SBLG meeting:

  • current works
  • potential disruptions
  • traffic management
  • communications and stakeholder relations activities
  • other topics as required
  • site managers and relevant team members are required to attend to present on the above topics at each meeting.


The SBLG will be managed by an independent chair with secretariat support from NELP.

The SBLG will meet every six weeks except during the months of the Christmas recess being December and January. Meetings will be limited to a maximum of two hours duration, unless the Group resolves to extend the meeting to a particular time for the completion of business. All meetings will be closed forums.

All SBLG meetings will have an agenda, prepared by NELP. A copy of the meeting agenda and any pre-reading will be forwarded to members at least 5 days prior to the scheduled meeting.

Extraordinary meetings may be called by the Chair in consultation with the relevant NELP Executive. The location, date and starting time for meetings will be advised on the agenda.

The Chair may invite representatives from other affected parties, organisations, institutions or relevant government agencies to meetings to:

  • clarify matters
  • hear or present on specific topics
  • respond to feedback or queries from SBLG members

Notice of all meetings shall be given by NELP. The notice of meeting shall be provided to members at least 10 business days prior to the meeting.

Members may list matters for consideration by tabling them at a meeting for discussion at the next meeting. NELP will be responsible for preparing the SBLG agenda, researching and reporting on matters tabled for discussion.

When a member represents an organisation:

  • if the nominated representative cannot attend, the organisation may, with the support of the SBLG Chairperson nominate a proxy
  • if the nominated representative is no longer able to attend, then the organisation may put forward an alternate member, with the support of the SBLG Chairperson, for the term of their appointment

The SBLG will consist of a maximum of 15 representatives.

A quorum of at least 5 business representatives must be present before a meeting can proceed.

Amendment, Modification or Variation

NELP has the option to revise the Terms of Reference and Code of Conduct of the SBLG and will consult with members and the Chair accordingly.


NELP recognises community involvement should not be an impost on volunteers. Reimbursement of expenses may be offered depending on individual circumstances, as determined by the Chairperson in consultation with the Director, Communications and Stakeholder Relations.

The term of appointment for membership, with the exception of the Chair, will be a period of one (1) year. Should a vacancy occur during the term of appointment, the appointment will be filled following the normal recruitment and appointment process. Members can run in concurrent years and be reappointed upon application.

Administrative support will be provided by NELP in order to facilitate the SBLG meetings, which includes:

  • advising members of meeting dates and venues
  • preparing meeting schedules and agendas
  • providing supporting documentation as required
  • recording minutes, points of discussion, actions and recommendations
  • managing all costs associated with hosting the SBLG meetings
  • publishing any publicly available information, including SBLG minutes and presentations on the NELP website.


A member of the SBLG may resign at any time. The resignation must be in writing, in the form of a letter or email, addressed to NELP Executive.

Membership of the SBLG may be terminated for any of the following reasons:

  • if a member is absent for 2 consecutive meetings without first notifying the Chair of their absence, or if a member is absent for 3 consecutive meetings having notified the Chair of their absence. Being absent for 3 consecutive meetings breaches the member obligations and is therefore liable to be removed from the SBLG
  • the member becomes an employee of, or contractor to, NELP
  • the member’s business is no longer based in the project area or no longer represents relevant stakeholders in the project area
  • one or more of the key selection elements no longer relates to the member
  • demonstrating conduct unbecoming a member, e.g. a breach of confidentiality
  • the member becomes bankrupt, commits an offence resulting in imprisonment, or behaves, in the opinion of the Chair, in a way that brings NELP or the SBLG into disrepute.

It should be noted that this information is current at the time of publication, however changes may occur. Please visit our Business and traders page for the latest updates.