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Metro Tunnel

Planning approvals

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

Note: the Metro Tunnel Project may be referred to as either "Melbourne Metro" or the "Melbourne Metro Rail Project" in earlier planning documents.

Environment Management Framework

Rail Project Victoria'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.

The EMF details the Environmental Performance Requirements (EPRs) for the project. The EPRs define the project-wide environmental outcomes that must be achieved during design, construction and operation of the Metro Tunnel.

The Community and Stakeholder Engagement Management Framework outlines the principles and approach to advising key stakeholders and other potentially affected stakeholders across the project of construction activities. It has been prepared in response to the requirements of the Incorporated Document and also addresses the Metro Tunnel Environmental Performance Requirements.

Approved Early Works Plans

Early Works Plans have been prepared by contractors appointed to deliver Metro Tunnel Project works and made available for public viewing and comment, prior to submission to the Minister for Planning for approval.

The plans demonstrate how 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

Contractors appointed to deliver permanent infrastructure for the Metro Tunnel Project must prepare Development Plans.

Development Plans are made available for public viewing and comment, prior to submission to the Minister for Planning for approval.

The following plans have been approved:

North Melbourne Intake Substation

Cross Yarra Partnership (CYP) will build an electrical Intake Substation that will power the Metro Tunnel’s twin nine-kilometre rail tunnels and the new North Melbourne Station.

A draft Development Plan has been prepared including information about these works.

Planning Scheme Amendments

Planning Schemes set out policies and provisions for the orderly use and development of private and public land.

Each local government area in Victoria is covered by a planning scheme. The operation of planning schemes in Victoria is governed by the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

Planning Scheme Amendment (GC45 and GC67)

A draft Planning Scheme Amendment was exhibited during the EES process. The Planning Scheme Amendment (GC45) was approved and published in the Government Gazette in January 2017.

A minor amendment to the planning scheme (GC67) was made in June 2017. This change included 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.

Visit the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning website to view details of the approved Planning Scheme Amendment GC45 (external link) and Planning Scheme Amendment GC67 (external link). You can view Gazettes G1 (2017) and G23 (2017) on the Victorian Government Gazette website (external link).

Tunnels and Stations Planning Scheme Amendment (GC82)

Cross Yarra Partnership, the appointed tunnels and stations contractor, identified refinements which will improve accessibility, reduce construction impacts and provide better outcomes for the delivery and operation of the Metro Tunnel.

Changes were also required to the Design and Development Overlay to incorporate the design refinements to protect the tunnels and stations from future nearby developments.

The Planning Scheme Amendment (GC82) was approved and published in the Government Gazette on 26 June 2018.

Rail Infrastructure and Rail Systems Planning Scheme Amendments (GC96 and C152)

The Rail Infrastructure Alliance and Rail Systems Alliance will undertake works to install next-generation signalling technology and upgrade infrastructure. Proposed works will take place on the Sunbury, Cranbourne and Pakenham lines as well between Epping and South Morang stations on the Mernda line, along the Sandringham line between South Yarra and Windsor stations and along the rail corridor within inner city areas.

View the Planning Scheme Amendments (GC96 and C152) and supporting documentation.

Incorporated Documents

The construction and operation of project works will be facilitated by an Incorporated Document incorporated into each Planning Scheme. The Incorporated Document sets out the Project Land, the permitted project activities and the conditions that will need to be complied with.

Design and Development Overlay

A new schedule to the Design and Development Overlay (DDO) has been included in the relevant Planning Schemes to protect the Metro Tunnel infrastructure.

The new overlays mean that a planning permit is now required to undertake certain works in the vicinity of the Metro Tunnel alignment.

Rail Projects Victoria provides pre-planning advice for those planning to undertake building works within the DDO area.

Project Area Designation

On 13 January 2017, the Acting Minister for Planning designated the project area under section 95 of the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act 2009.

The designation of the project area enables the project proponent (Secretary to Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources) to use the project delivery powers (including land acquisition) under the Act.

To facilitate the delivery of the Park Street tram stop, the Project Area was varied in June 2017 to include additional road areas.

In April 2018, the Project Area was varied again to reflect changes in the land required for construction of the Metro Tunnel Project, as a result of design changes and updated construction methodology for the tunnels and stations.

In March 2019, the Project Area was varied (variation 3) to facilitate changes in the land required for construction of the Metro Tunnel Project as a result of design changes and updated construction methodology for tunnels and stations.

In August 2019, the Project Area was varied (variation 4) to facilitate changes in the land required for construction of the Metro Tunnel Project as a result of design changes and updated construction methodology for tunnels and stations.