North East Link Update
The Supreme Court challenge against the North East Link Project has come to an end with Banyule, Boroondara, Whitehorse and Manningham Council all accepting taxpayer funded incentives that directly address issues arising from the Environment Effects Statement.
New initiatives to the project include:
- More parkland created at Bulleen Park with the Yarra River frontage, local aero-modellers and archery grounds to be preserved;
- The Freeway Golf Course in the City of Boroondara to remain;
- A new cycling and pedestrian bridge over the Yarra River at Banksia Park;
- A new Tennis Centre on Bulleen road to replace the current site (operating until end of 2022);
- Development of a plan for Koonung Creek including the planting of 4,000 trees;
- Sporting facility upgrades at Elgar Park;
- More cycling and pedestrians’ paths;
- Additional collaboration between the councils and the government on the final design of the project.
As the project continues, it is important that additional discussions with the councils, sports clubs, businesses and locals effected occurs in order to reduce the short-term and long-lasting impact.
On the 2nd June, I moved to amend the North East Link Bill 2020 to ensure fair tolling prices on the North East Link. These amendments would have prevented family utes from being charged double the price of car and created a fair and equitable toll pricing system. Once again, fair tolls for families were blocked.
Despite this, I will continue to advocate for those communities and individuals affected by the North East Link to achieve the best outcome for my constituency.
Read more about fair tolls for utes at: https://rodbarton.com.au/fair-tolls-for-private-utes/
Sign our petition for the State Government to review tolling classes at: https://rodbarton.com.au/fair-go-tolls-for-families/
Want to know more about Tolls in Victoria, go to Fair tolls for Victorians
Rod Barton’s submission for the North East Link
Rod presented his submission to the panel hearing at 9.45am on 9 September 2019.
The key issues he has raised on the project are outlined below:
Bulleen Business Park
Issue – the entire area will be razed with limited scope for compensation
- Add up the total cost of the closing down of the businesses (land, tenants, jobs, rate loss tax losses etc etc) which is likely to be similar to the cost of extending the tunnel instead of ‘cut & cover’
- Relax some of the urban growth boundary
Manningham Road Rivergum
Issue – the current cut & cover design wipes out this 300 year old red river gum tree
- Extend the tunnel so that there is no need to raze such a large area and then the tree can be a feature piece of the project, visually linking to Heidi
Issue – the EPA Guidelines are just ‘guidelines’ and are not enforceable. Victoria has no vibration standards.
- Make the EPA Guidelines for major construction the mandatory minimum requirement in ALL contracts and the principal contractors responsible for ensuring that EVERY worker follows them.
- Establish monitoring and equipment standards with 100m of any residence.
Templestowe Road and Bulleen Road (North Balwyn)
Issue – these roads are not included in the project area, but will become defacto on ramps once the road is operational
- NELP agree that these roads will see increased traffic so let’s include upgrading them as part of the project
Doncaster Rapid Transit Busway
Issue – the busway is really just a wider emergency lane on the shoulder that merges back into main traffic east of the Chandler Highway.
- Swap the busway for a trackless tram (or electric bus system) which is eco-green and possibly even autonomous, can be scaled up to meet growing demand and can be easily connected to the CBD tram and train network.
- Build it first!
Loss of sports fields
Issue – large areas of sports fields are lost to provide contractor “lay down” and site compound space, displacing some clubs permanently and other for up to 7 years.
- We support the Manningham Council proposal for relocation of sporting facilities across the area.
- To minimise disruption make contractors use “off-site” areas for staging as they do on other major projects overseas (eg, London’s cross rail)
Hurstbridge Rail Line Shutdown
Issue – The Hurstbridge rail line will be closed for at least 6 – 8 weeks to facilitate cut and cover construction
- Extend the tunnel along the entire route – these means that precast bridge sections can be used to reduce rail line disruptions to less than a few days.
Environmental offset – trees and plants
Issue – loss of trees and endangered native vegetation
- Identify where local replanting can occur NOW rather than just plant trees in other parts of the state under the offset system.
Fairer toll charges
Issue – toll charges are no aligned to vehicle standard classifications – taxis, hire cars and public transport needs to use the toll road without charge.
- Use the AUSROADS vehicle standards so that all Class 1/ Class 2 vehicles (under 3.5 tonnes) are passenger cars – this includes utes and dual cabs. This will discourage “rat running” in local streets.
- Commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonnes pay a fixed rate.
- All taxis, VHA/B hire cars and PTV vehicles (eg, airport shuttle buses) are exempt from tolls via a ‘cash-back’ system with the government, which saves passengers money and discourages use of surface roads.
- We also propose making the North East Link toll free for electric vehicles.
Issues – NELP has confirmed it has done no modelling of construction traffic.
- Undertake modelling pre tender
- Create maximum movement agreements and real time traffic management to avoid heavy vehicles parking in local streets.
North East Link – One chance to get it right!
The North East Link requires careful planning well before any contract is signed and especially before the start of any works. An expert panel appointed by the government will review submissions made by the public.
I’ve encouraged everyone to make sure the government’s expert panel hears your thoughts, concerns and issues.
It’s this expert panel who will make the final recommendations regarding the project’s approvals and future.
Submissions on this project have now closed and public hearings will begin on 25 July 2019.
If you’re unsure, have a question about the Project or even need a hand to make sure your ideas and concerns are heard get in touch.