Project declaration

In June 2015, a project outline was prepared to inform the Minister for Planning in his consideration of whether to declare the Metro Tunnel Project as public works under Section 3 of the Environment Effects Act 1978.

In September 2015, the Premier of Victoria declared the Metro Tunnel Project to be a project to which the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act 2009 (other than Parts 3 and 8) applies.

The project has been declared for the purpose of applying the project delivery, land assembly, and utilities powers under the Act. For the purpose of planning and environmental approvals, the project was assessed through the Environment Effects Statement process.

The Premier of Victoria appointed the Minister for Public Transport as Project Minister for the Metro Tunnel Project.

The Minister for Public Transport appointed the Secretary to Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources as the Project Proponent.

Learn more about the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act.

Amending order for enabling works

On 24 November 2015, the Minister for Planning made an amendment to his original Order which declared the project to be public works. This amending Order excludes certain enabling works from the Environment Effects Statement (EES) process. Enabling works are works that might be initiated earlier than the main project works, before the conclusion of the EES process, in order to minimise disruption arising from the main works package.

The Minister’s Reasons for Order, which explained the basis of his original public works declaration in September 2015, indicated that the Minister would consider the treatment of proposed enabling works under the Environment Effects Act 1978 when there was more information about the potential for these works to have, or to be capable of having, a significant effect on the environment.

Rail Projects Victoria subsequently provided more information to the Minister for Planning about the nature of the enabling works and their potential effects, which informed his decision to amend the Order by excluding specific enabling works from the EES process. The Minister made this amending Order because he was satisfied that the enabling works would not have a significant effect on the environment.

The Amending Order was gazetted on 24 November 2015. You can view the Gazette S361 on the Victorian Government Gazette website.

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act referral

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act is the Commonwealth Government’s key piece of environmental legislation. It provides a framework to protect and manage nationally and internationally important flora and fauna, ecological communities and heritage places – typically referred to as Matters of National Environmental Significance.

As part of the planning for Metro Tunnel, Rail Projects Victoria submitted a referral under the EPBC Act. The document can be found on the Department of the Environment and Energy website by searching for referral number 2015/7549.

The referral document outlines 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.

The Commonwealth Government has determined that the project is not a controlled action if undertaken in a particular manner. The decision required the project to measure and monitor vibration when tunnelling passed the Victoria Barracks precinct, which is included on the Commonwealth heritage list.