Thursday, April 25, 2024

Suburban Rail Loop Bill passed

Melbourne’s Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) is another step closer with the passing of legislation to enable the transport investment to be planned and built with “consistency and certainty”.

Minister for SRL, Jacinta Allan said the Suburban Rail Loop Bill 2021 ensured the efficient planning and construction of the 90km orbital rail loop through Melbourne’s middle suburbs, while supporting development of the broader jobs precincts around each SRL station.

She said SRL from Cheltenham to Werribee passed through multiple local government areas, each with their own approach to precinct planning.

This legislation will ensure a consistent approach is applied to planning and decision-making to achieve the best outcomes across all precincts, the Minister said.

“In 2018, we promised to build the Suburban Rail Loop – and this legislation lays the foundations to get this project underway.”

“We’re excited to begin our work to deliver thousands of jobs to the suburbs, more open space and change the way Victorians will travel,” Ms Allan said.

Construction will begin next year on SRL East between Cheltenham and Box Hill, including six new underground stations and twin 26-kilometre tunnels.

Under the new legislation, Suburban Rail Loop Authority (SRLA) will become a statutory body corporate with the
ability to effectively deliver Victoria’s biggest public investment in transport and precinct development – essential
as we plan for Melbourne’s future growth.

The Minister said that establishing a dedicated agency to support significant long-term projects was not a new concept.

“A similar approach was adopted to facilitate development of Docklands by the Docklands Authority and the development of new communities in Melbourne’s growth areas by the Victorian Planning Authority.”

As outlined in the Business and Investment Case, SRL will generate up to $58.7 billion in economic, social and
environmental benefits. It will play a significant role in our post-pandemic recovery – generating a pipeline of work and economic stimulus, supporting up to 24,000 jobs across the state, she said.

“This legislation brings together all elements of SRL into one place. As well as delivering better transport, SRLA is
planning for enhanced communities which will benefit from greater accessibility and more job and housing choices.”

She said the Government would fully consult with the community, including local councils, but rejected amendments from the Opposition and Greens that would enable the Suburban Rail Loop to be scrapped if any one councillor from eleven different councils opposed it.

Geotechnical work for SRL East resumes this week, with more than 565 investigations completed and more than 10 kilometres of boreholes drilled.

Hundreds of land and groundwater surveys and around 10,000 laboratory tests have also been undertaken over
the past two years.

Communities will continue to have opportunities to have their say through the planning, development and delivery of SRL, the Minister said. In addition, there will be opportunities for formal submissions to be made as part of SRL East’s Environment Effects Statement in the coming weeks.

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