The Victorian Government’s Suburban Rail Loop East (SRL East) project has been given the green light, following a Ministerial assessment of its environmental effects.
Victoria’s biggest infrastructure project had previously been subjected to an independent inquiry, which received more than 360 submissions over 39 days of public hearings, and determined that it would deliver strong outcomes to the community during both construction and operation.
Victorian Minister for Environment and Climate Action, Lily D’Ambrosio, endorsed the inquiry’s recommendations and found the environmental effects of the project acceptable. Ms D’Ambrosio noted SRL East will bring major benefits to the community, with careful management of the environmental impacts.
SRL East will deliver 26km of twin tunnels and six new underground stations between Cheltenham and Box Hill, with trains running by 2035 and end-to-end trips taking just 22 minutes.
Ms D’Ambrosio found many impacts had been avoided by putting the line underground, and that the environmental effects of SRL East have been identified and carefully considered through the Environment Effects Statement (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 2022 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.
Victorian Minister for Suburban Rail Loop, Jacinta Allan, said, “Victorians voted for this project, which will create thousands of jobs, and it’s great to see this independent assessment give the project the green light.
“We’re getting on with this project that will connect communities in the east and southeast and we’ll continue to work with local communities along the way.”