Victoria’s biggest infrastructure project – the Suburban Rail Loop East – has been given the green light following an assessment of its environmental effects.
An independent inquiry received more than 360 submissions over 39 days of public hearings before recommending strong outcomes that will benefit the community during construction and operation.
Under the Environmental Effect Statement Act, Minister Lily D’Ambrosio’s assessment endorsed the inquiry’s recommendations and found the environmental effects of the project acceptable. She noted SRL East will bring enormous benefits to the community, with careful management of the environmental impacts.
SRL East will deliver 26 kilometres of twin tunnels and six new underground stations between Cheltenham and Box Hill, with trains running by 2035 and an end-to-end trip taking just 22 minutes.
Many impacts have been avoided by putting the line underground, and that the environmental effects of SRL East have been identified and carefully considered through the EES – the state’s most rigorous and transparent assessment and approvals process.
The process addressed construction and operational outcomes for local residents, including:
- Replacement of open space required for the project, including new parkland to offset the land required for the SRL stabling facility at Heatherton
- Tougher requirements to limit construction noise and traffic impacts
- Additional bicycle connections and footpaths to encourage walking and cycling, including connections to the Ringwood Cycling Corridor in Box Hill, and upgrading Gardiners Creek Trail
- More support for businesses affected by construction
Construction of SRL East started in June with initial works in Clayton – creating the first of up to 8,000 jobs. This endorsement by the independent Inquiry and Advisory Committee comes after the Business and Investment Case revealed the project stacks up – returning up to $1.70 to the economy for every dollar spent.
The Big Build has created open space, sporting and recreation facilities, built bike paths and worked to mitigate construction impacts on residents and businesses across the 165 projects and this approach will continue as we get on with the Suburban Rail Loop.