The Linking Melbourne Authority Plan
Declared project: The Eastern section of East West Link (the project) would involve construction and operation of a new freeway standard road link from the end of the Eastern Freeway to CityLink generally along Alexandra Parade corridor, with a further southerly connection to the Port of Melbourne area.
Linking Melbourne Authority East West link Connection with Citylink
East West Link, Eastern section was declared as a major transport project under the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act 2009 (MTPF Act) on 19 December 2012. In March 2013, Linking Melbourne Authority was appointed as the ‘project proponent’ for the Eastern Section and instructed by the Minister for Roads to commence formal statutory planning and environmental approvals process.
The Minister for Planning determined on 14 May 2013 that a Comprehensive Impact Statement (CIS) should apply to the project and on 27 May 2013, published Scoping Directions for Linking Melbourne Authority to meet in preparing the CIS. These directions include requirements for the general content and structure of the CIS, specific issues that must be addressed, the approach to be adopted in assessing the project’s impacts and a set of project evaluation objectives to guide and focus the impact assessment. The Scoping Directions also require Linking Melbourne Authority to consult with the public in developing the project and to prepare a community engagement strategy.
The LMA proceeded to developed a ‘Reference Design’ for the project and then prepared a CIS for this design along with proposed performance requirements for the project that would need to be met by the successful tenderer. The various chapters of the CIS can be viewed here: http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/planning/environment-assessment/projects/east-west-link/east-west-link-cis.
It is the view of the Better East West Link Design group that the LMA was responsible under the Scoping Directions to consider alternatives to avoid and minimise impacts. This is supported by the fact that the Project Proposal defined the alternatives to be taken through the statutory approval process as follows (Section 3.2):
‘A detailed assessment of the project will be undertaken, together with the possible scope variations. During the assessment process, feedback on the project and its variations would be sought from the community and stakeholders.
The impact assessment documentation and concept design for the project and its variations would be publically exhibited prior to any approval decision.’
However, the LMA did not take this approach and instead developed a Reference Design that would have ‘acceptable outcomes’. To achieve the intent of the Scoping Directions, the LMA puts the onus on the tenderers, which is outside the statutory approval process, by proposing ‘Variations’:
‘These are potential alternative design solutions to the project’s scope, design or route alignment within the project boundary. These alternatives – or ‘variations’ – could be developed by the private sector as a means of delivering better value for money to the State and improved environmental and other outcomes for the community. Any variations must still meet the performance requirements.’
Given that the LMA has been remiss in considering alternatives as part of the statutory approval process, it should be required to go back and conduct a thorough investigation of the alternative designs presented on this website.
The significant problems with the Linking Melbourne Authority Reference Design have been broadly covered in the media. Below is a selection of these news stories.
Click here to read on about a Better Design for East West Link