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Metro Tunnel

Planning approvals

The Metro Tunnel project has undergone an extensive and robust planning assessment process.

Project declaration

In June 2015, a Project outline (PDF, 642.5 KB) [Word version (DOCX, 1.1 MB)] was prepared to inform the Minister for Planning in his consideration of whether to declare MMRP as 'public works' under Section 3 of the Environment Effects Act 1978.

In September 2015, the Premier of Victoria declared Metro Tunnel 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 is being assessed through the EES process.

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

The Minister for Public Transport has 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 (external link).

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 EES process.

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.

MMRA 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.

'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 Amending Order was gazetted on 24 November. You can view the Gazette S361 on the Victorian Government Gazette website (external link).

Further documents relating to this topic can be found on the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning website (external link).

Environment Effects Statement

In 2016 we published an Environment Effects Statement (EES) process to satisfy legislation governing the construction of major projects in Victoria. The EES is an evaluation of the potential environmental, social, and planning aspects of the project, and the approach to managing the impacts.

In December 2016, the Minister for Planning released his Assessment which concludes the Environment Effects Statement (EES) process for this project.

The Assessment has been provided to statutory decision-makers to inform approval decisions on this project, including for planning scheme amendments under the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

View the details of the Assessment on the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning website (external link).

Planning Scheme Amendment

A draft Planning Scheme Amendment was exhibited during the EES process. The Planning Scheme Amendment has now been approved and was published in the Government Gazette in January 2017.

A minor amendment to the planning scheme was made in June 2017. This change was made to include parts of the road reserve in the project land to facilitate construction of a new tram stop on Park Street, South Melbourne and utility relocation works in Bowen Lane. You can view the Gazette G23 on the Victorian Government Gazette website (external link).

Visit the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning website to view details of the Planning Scheme Amendment (external link) including maps.

Design and Development Overlays

On 5 January 2017, new Design and Development Overlays were added to the Melbourne, Port Phillip and Stonnington Planning Schemes to protect the new infrastructure being delivered as part of the Metro Tunnel.

The new overlays mean that a planning permit is now required to undertake certain works in the vicinity of the Metro Tunnel alignment. For more information, including maps, see the Planning permit applications page.

Approved plans and permits

Environment Management Framework

Melbourne Metro Rail Authority's Environment Management Framework (EMF) has been approved by the Minister for Planning, having addressed the Inquiry/Advisory Committee's Report and the Minister for Planning's Assessment.

Urban Design Strategy

Melbourne Metro Rail Authority's Urban Design Strategy has been approved by the Minister for Planning and will ensure that the Metro Tunnel integrates with the city's existing public spaces, creates vibrant new public precincts and is an exciting new addition to what is already great about our city and state.

Early Works Plans

As part of the requirements of the Metro Tunnel Incorporated Document, Early Works Plans are required to be prepared by contractors appointed to deliver Early Works for the Metro Tunnel Project and made available for public viewing and comment, prior to submission to the Minister for Planning for approval.

Early Works Plans demonstrate how Early Works will be delivered in accordance with the approved Environmental Performance Requirements, as defined in the Environmental Management Framework and the Urban Design Strategy.

The following Early Works Plans have been approved by the Minister for Planning:

Development plans

As part of the requirements of the Metro Tunnel Incorporated Document, Development Plans are required to be prepared by contractors appointed to deliver permanent infrastructure for the Metro Tunnel Project and made available for public viewing and comment for 15 business days, prior to submission to the Minister for Planning for approval.

As the Construction Power Works Contractor, Beon Energy Solutions has prepared a draft Development Plan which covers the scope and impacts of works to construct temporary substations to power the tunnel boring machines required to build the Metro Tunnel Project. Comments on the plan must be submitted by 8 August 2017.

Heritage approvals

A number of sites and locations along the Metro Tunnel are of heritage significance. In some cases these sites are registered on the Victorian Heritage Register and require a heritage permit to be approved before works are undertaken. Visit the Heritage Victoria website (external link) to visit details of approved heritage permits for the Metro Tunnel.

St Kilda Road

MMRA successfully nominated St Kilda Road to be included on the Victorian Heritage Register in September 2016. A permit application was approved in April 2017 to enable early works including tree removal and changes to bluestone kerbing to take place ahead of major construction of Domain Station.

Fawkner Park

MMRA successfully nominated Fawkner Park to be included on the Victorian Heritage Register in September 2016. Following design changes, no works are planned to take place in Fawkner Park.

Royal Parade

Royal Parade is registered on the Victorian Heritage Register and a permit application was approved in April 2017 to enable tree removal and temporary works associated with bluestone kerbing for utility relocations ahead of construction of Parkville Station.

South African Soldiers Memorial

The South African Soldiers Memorial located in Albert Road Reserve is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. A permit application was approved in June 2017 to enable the safe dismantlement and storage of the memorial, and associated tree removal, ahead of construction of Domain Station.

Edmund Herring Oval

Edmund Herring Oval forms part of the Domain Parklands which is registered on the Victorian Heritage Register. A permit application was submitted to Heritage Victoria for assessment in mid-May 2017 in advance of construction of a temporary power substation in Edmund Herring Oval. Comments on the application have now closed. The substation will provide power to the tunnel boring machines which will build the rail tunnels in the south eastern section of the project. A substation is also required in Arden to support tunnelling in the north western section of the project.

EPBC 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, the MMRA submitted a referral under the EPBC Act (external link). This 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 requires the project to measure and monitor vibration when tunnelling passes the Victoria Barracks precinct, which is included on the Commonwealth heritage list.

Learn more about the EPBC referral process (external link).