30 March 2022

The sustainability objectives and targets represent commitments and performance expectations for North East Link. Contractors will be required to achieve, and where possible, exceed the targets.


Achieve excellent environmental, social and economic outcomes across all phases of North East Link

Seek opportunities to share knowledge and collaborate with stakeholders and industry peers
  • Implement innovative and pioneering initiatives in sustainable design, process or advocacy considered a first in Victoria and/or Australia (IS v1.2 or IS v2.1 Innovation Inn-1 credit)
  • Implement initiatives for sharing sustainability knowledge gained from the Project (IS v1.2 Man-6 Level 2 credit or IS v2.1 Lea-3 Level 2 credit)
Use sustainability rating schemes to set benchmarks and track and report performance
  • Achieve a minimum 50 points for the Program Rating under the IS Rating tool v2.1
  • Achieve a minimum Excellent rating (or equivalent) for Operations’ rating type under the IS rating tool
  • Achieve a minimum five-star Green star rating for the motorway control centre
  • Publicly report sustainability performance on an annual basis.

The Infrastructure Sustainability Council (ISC) administers the Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) rating scheme. The scheme evaluates the sustainability performance of infrastructure developments.

Resource efficiency

Embedding energy, water, material and waste reduction initiatives into the design, construction and operation of the Project

Reduce the use and the lifecycle impacts of all materials, like concrete, asphalt and steel
  • Develop a Resource Efficiency Strategy and Action Plan (IS v2.1 Rso-1 Level 2)
  • Achieve a minimum 15% reduction in materials lifecycle impacts (measured by the materials lifecycle calculator) below the base case (IS v1.2 Mat-1 Level 2 or IS v2.1 Rso-6 Level 1)
  • Reduce the amount of Portland Cement content in concrete across the Project by a minimum of 30% (against Green Building Council of Australia reference mix design levels)
  • Maximise use of recycled asphalt pavement and other recycled materials in the Project
  • Maximise local steel by volume sourced from fabricators or contractors who are accredited suppliers for the Environment Sustainability Charter of Australian Steel Institute or similar international association
  • Implement a sustainable procurement policy to ensure that major materials have environmental labels or are from sustainable supply chains in accordance with the IS Materials credit.
Reduce water use and maximise the use of alternatives to potable water
  • Maximise harvest and reuse of rainwater, stormwater, wastewater, groundwater and tunnel inflow water
  • Develop Integrated Water Management Projects to supply construction and post-construction uses
  • Develop a water usage and sourcing strategy that includes potable and non-potable water needs, volumes and sources that would be used and generated during construction and operation. Identify opportunities to reduce water use and maximise reuse
Reduce waste and maximise the sustainable reuse of excavated material
  • Implement initiatives to reduce spoil quantities and maximise the beneficial reuse of uncontaminated spoil
  • Maximise waste diverted from landfill and achieve landfill diversion rates of at least 90% by volume of inert and non-hazardous construction waste and 60% by volume of office waste.

Urban ecosystems

Protecting and seeking opportunities to enhance natural environments

Protect and enhance biodiversity and habitat links
  • Reduce impacts to ecological communities by minimising the removal of native vegetation, fauna habitat and mature old trees
  • Protect and enhance existing habitats, habitat connectivity and ecosystem function, where possible
  • Seek opportunities to create new habitats and habitat links in consultation with local environmental and community groups
  • Apply best practice retention, responsible storage and reinstatement of topsoil to support growing conditions for local species
  • Develop a Green Infrastructure Plan and incorporate Green infrastructure.
Seek opportunities to improve stormwater quality and contribute to improvements in waterway environments
  • Identify opportunities to improve water quality and contribute to improved connectivity and enhancement of waterways
Contribute to local urban forest outcomes
  • Contribute to urban forest outcomes by replacing lost canopy and achieving a net gain in canopy cover by 2045
  • Prioritise the retention and protection of existing vegetation
  • Undertake new plantings early to optimise growth
  • Use indigenous species of local provenance where appropriate
  • Re-planting to occur within the project boundary wherever possible.


Making a positive contribution to social, cultural and community health and wellbeing

Enhance open space, active transport opportunities and community facilities
  • Implement initiatives that generate positive social and/or environmental outcomes and enhance community wellbeing (IS v1.2 Hea-1 Level 2 or IS v2.1 Leg-1 Level 2)
  • Achieve at least a 10% increase (or greater) in cyclist numbers travelling the North East Link corridor after 3 years of operation
  • Reduce travel distance for cyclists along the Eastern Freeway corridor
  • Increase the number of homes within 500m of a connected shared use path
  • Improve connectivity across East and West sections of the North East Link corridor for Watsonia and Greensborough communities through new and upgraded walking and cycling links
  • Create a dedicated Busway and provide accessible and amenable Park & Ride facilities connected to shared use paths, as guided by the Urban Design Strategy
  • Seek opportunities to improve bus priority measures and facilities across the North East Link corridor
  • Achieve a high level of improvement in recreational facility standards when compared with pre-North East Link facilities.
Respect and promote cultural and historical heritage values
  • Demonstrate a design philosophy and approach that recognises, protects and promotes Indigenous cultural heritage values and celebrates and interprets places and objects of historical heritage importance
  • Seek opportunities to represent Wurundjeri people’s knowledge, insights and Connections to Country via a meaningful, authentic and collaborative process.

Economic opportunities

Facilitating opportunities for economic development, provide a skilled local workforce and promote diversity and inclusion

Achieve social value and sustainability outcomes through procurement
  • Implement a social and sustainable procurement strategy that delivers on relevant legislative and policy frameworks, including Victoria’s Social Procurement Framework.
Promote sustainability capabilities within industry
  • Require relevant contractors and suppliers to adopt and implement recognised and accredited sustainability training for staff
  • Promote sustainability awareness amongst staff and contractors.

Climate change

Playing a part in Victoria achieving its emission reduction targets while preparing for the challenges presented by climate change

Reduce carbon emissions during construction and operation
  • Analyse and implement all feasible opportunities to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from construction and operation of North East Link
  • Achieve at least a 30% reduction in carbon emissions from the construction of North East Link against an ISC verified base case calculated in accordance with their independent standards (IS v1.2 Ene-1 Level 3 or IS v2.1 Ene-1 Level 3)
  • Use at least 50% of renewable energy for electricity used to construct North East Link (IS v1.2 Ene-2 Level 1.5 or IS v2.1 Ene-2 Level 1.5)
  • Achieve net zero emissions in the operation and maintenance of North East Link*
Design to be resilient to a changing climate
  • Implement a Climate Resilience plan which addresses high and extreme climate change risks.

*Note this does not include emissions from traffic using the North East Link. Residual emissions would be offset by renewable energy in favour of other offsets.