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Summary of Project outline

This Project Outline has been prepared by Suburban Rail Loop Authority (SRLA), an administrative office of the Department of Transport. SRLA is responsible for the planning and delivery of the Suburban Rail Loop (SRL), on behalf of the Victorian government, from Cheltenham to Melbourne Airport.

The purpose of this Project Outline is to provide information to the Minister for Planning (the Minister) for his consideration in deciding whether to declare works to construct and operate the first stage of the SRL from Cheltenham to Box Hill, as described in Section 3.1 of this document, as “public works” under Section 3 of the Environment Effects Act 1978 (EE Act). The works to construct and operate the first stage of SRL are described in this document as the SRL Stage One works.

Strategic basis

SRL is a transformative, city-shaping program of investments and policy initiatives that would change the way people move around Melbourne, boost productivity and deliver urban renewal outcomes for Greater Metropolitan Melbourne. SRL is a key component of the Victorian Government’s vision for a 90 km orbital rail loop connecting major metropolitan train lines from Cheltenham to Werribee, linking priority growth precincts, major health, education and employment centres and providing a catalyst for urban renewal across Melbourne’s middle suburbs.

SRL would provide a framework to set Melbourne up as a polycentric city with 20-minute neighbourhoods linked by high quality public transport. The SRL program of rail investment and renewal of key activity centres is recognised as key to Melbourne’s development in both Plan Melbourne 2017-2050: Addendum 2019 (the Addendum) and in the Planning Policy Framework of the Victoria Planning Provisions.

Given the significant scale and complexity of SRL, it is proposed to be developed in multiple stages. The first stage would entail a rapid rail service between Cheltenham to Box Hill (SRL Stage One). The remaining stages of SRL would be developed subject to separate planning and approval processes.

The SRL Stage One works

The proposed SRL Stage One works that are the subject of this Project Outline consist of the construction and operation of twin rail tunnels approximately 26km long, train stations at Cheltenham, Clayton, Monash, Glen Waverley, Burwood and Box Hill, a stabling yard at Heatherton, and a ventilation shaft. These proposed works are described in more detail in Section 3.1.

Other aspects of SRL that are not part of SRL Stage One include a package of initial works, station precinct planning and development, and the development of future stages of SRL. These other aspects of SRL are described in Section 3.2.

Potential environmental effects

This Project Outline includes a preliminary evaluation of whether the construction and operation of the SRL Stage One works are capable of having significant environmental effects. The preliminary evaluation provides guidance on the priority level for further investigations.

The preliminary evaluation presented in Section 5 indicates that the benefits of SRL and the SRL Stage One works are long-term and widespread across Melbourne and Victoria, and many of the construction impacts are typically localised at individual sites along the alignment. These impacts can be managed using conventional mitigation responses appropriate to a project of this type and scale.