Minister’s assessment of North East Link EES released

Published: 5 December 2019

North East Link is one step closer to being delivered. The Victorian Minister for Planning has released his assessment of the project’s Environment Effects Statement (EES).

The Minister considered recommendations from an independent committee appointed to review the EES, more than 870 public submissions and advice from more than 50 expert witnesses.

The Minister endorsed 24 of the committee’s 29 recommendations and, as a result of the EES, we’ll be doing even more work to support communities, businesses, workers and the environment including:

  • More design guidelines for the M80 Ring Road, Lower Plenty Road, Manningham Road and Eastern Freeway interchanges and local connections around Watsonia Station and shops to help the three world-class bidders prepare the best possible designs for the entire project.
  • Tree and shrub planting to start as soon as possible.
  • More support for businesses and workers in the Bulleen industrial zone likely to be affected by acquisition including one-on-one case managers and personalised plans.
  • Community grants similar to those being provided by the West Gate Tunnel Project.

The Minister has also supported investigating a potential relocation site at Websters Road, Templestowe for businesses at Bulleen. We’ll keep working on this.

The Minister found that overall the environmental impacts of the project can be appropriately managed and will be acceptable given the significant benefits for all Victorians.

In considering the environmental impacts, the Minister assessed extending the North East Link tunnels an extra two kilometres north and determined, based on studies so far, the potential impacts outweigh the benefits. An extra 18 months or more of construction disruptions and significant impacts for two local schools were key considerations.

NELP is still reviewing the Minister’s assessment in detail to understand what changes are needed before planning approvals towards the end of the year.

A copy of the Minister’s assessment, together with the report of recommendations from the independent committee, is available online at www.planning.vic.gov.au