Melbourne Airport Rail is being assessed through a robust and transparent planning approval process.

Community engagement is an important part of the planning process when delivering a major infrastructure project like Melbourne Airport Rail. This feedback helps inform the planning and environmental controls on the project.

Project area

The project area for construction for Melbourne Airport Rail primarily spans from Sunshine through to Melbourne Airport. This includes areas for site compounds as well as roads for haulage routes to and from the main construction zones.

Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act

The Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act came into operation on 1 November 2009. The Acting Premier of Victoria declared the Melbourne Airport Rail project and appointed the Minister for Transport Infrastructure to be the Project Minister on 3 June 2021. The project was declared for the purpose of applying the delivery powers under the Act (ie. excluding Parts 3 and 8 of the Act).

Environment Effects Statement & Clause 52.36

The Minister for Planning determined that an Environment Effects Statement (EES) is not required for Melbourne Airport Rail.

Rail Projects Victoria has sought planning approval for the project on State land under Clause 52.36, which was added to the Victoria Planning Provisions in May 2021 to establish a standard planning approval process for projects that do not require an EES.

In August 2022, the Minister for Planning granted planning approval for the Melbourne Airport Rail project on State land, in accordance with Clause 52.36 of the Victorian Planning Provision.

Further information regarding Clause 52.36 is available on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.

Frequently asked questions - Clause 52.36

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act referral

As part of the planning for Melbourne Airport Rail, Rail Projects Victoria has submitted two referrals under the EPBC Act for two distinct sections of the project on State land:

Sunshine section: This referral covers a highly active section of the rail corridor including Sunshine and Albion.

Corridor section: This referral covers the remainder of the project route on State land, stretching between the existing Albion-Jacana corridor and Sharps Road in Tullamarine (on the boundary of Commonwealth land).

The referrals outline Matters of National Environmental Significance within the project area and the approach that would be adopted to mitigate potential impacts of the project on these matters.

On the Sunshine section, the Commonwealth Government has determined that the project is not a controlled action and the proposed approach to mitigate potential impacts is suitable.

On the Corridor section, the Commonwealth Government has determined that the project is a controlled action and will require assessment and approval under the EPBC Act before it can proceed.

Rail Projects Victoria has recently submitted relevant documentation to gain approval under the EPBC Act for the Corridor section of works.

Rail Projects Victoria is proposing to undertake work between Jacana Station and north of Barwon Avenue, Sunshine North, as well as land between Sharps Road, Tullamarine and the Albion-Jacana rail corridor, as part of the Melbourne Airport Rail Corridor Section (EPBC 2021/9081). The proposed action has potential to impact listed threatened species and communities (Sections 18 and 18A) protected under Part 3 of the EPBC Act, specifically Spiny Rice-flower (Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens) and Striped Legless Lizard (Delma impar).

Pursuant to Section 95A(3) of the EPBC Act, the preliminary documentation was open for public comment for a period of 10 business days from 3 October to 14 October 2022 inclusive and no comments were received.

These documents can be found on the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water website by searching for referral numbers 2021/9040 and 2021/9081 respectively.