Councils commence legal action on North East Link
Published on 11 February 2020
Banyule Council has decided to commence a legal challenge of the North East Link Project.
While Council supports the delivery of a North East Link and is continuing to work with local MPs, residents, traders and community groups to address concerns, there are a number of design improvements that need to be properly investigated.
- the delivery of a longer tunnel option
- excluding Borlase Reserve as a tunnel boring machine launch site, and
- protecting the nature and significant trees at Simpson Army Barracks.
All of these issues were identified by the independent advisory panel as needing to be addressed, however the process the project has used to date has not adequately addressed these issues.
Council has had feedback from residents that the North East Link Project appears to lack experience and expertise in working with local communities to achieve local outcomes.
We stand united with residents, local community groups and traders to achieve the best possible outcomes for the North East Link in Banyule, and are now working closely with Boroondara and Whitehorse councils to commence legal proceedings.
The Alliance of Banyule, Boroondara and Whitehorse councils will commence legal action to challenge the decisions on the North East Link Project (NELP).
The Alliance maintains that it was not possible to properly assess the impacts of the project using the proposed reference design. Other than in the most general terms, nobody really knows what is proposed to be built. Too much about the project has been left to be determined at a later time which excludes the community from the process. This is not the way this process should work. It is critical that all decisions made in relation to this significant project are made with a clearer understanding of what is proposed.
The Alliance is concerned that the full extent of environmental and community impacts remain unknown as no actual design was available for assessment. By the time that a design is finalised, there will not be the proper opportunity to provide input and make submissions in relation to the potential impacts.
The Alliance remains hopeful of achieving better outcomes for our communities.
Banyule Mayor, Cr Alison Champion
"The Minister has ignored IAC recommendations and its concerns over major environmental impacts and loss of amenity the project will bring. We stand united with residents, local community groups and traders and will continue to explore all avenues to get the best design, maximum environmental protection and minimised impacts for our community."
Mayor of Boroondara, Cr Cynthia Watson
"The IAC panel hearing heard from a range of experts considering a reference design which was then approved by the Minister. The process undertaken here is akin to Council approving a planning application without having received plans that demonstrate what might be built. How can a reasonable assessment of the environment, traffic and social impact on communities be made without sufficient detail?
Any sensitivity and understanding of the value our community places on public open space, amenity and transport movement across the city has been entirely absent since the day the Victorian Government announced their desire to disrupt lives by building North East Link."
Whitehorse Mayor, Cr Sharon Ellis
"Whitehorse City Council has been consistent in our advocacy for a North East Link design that balances the interests of road users with the amenity along the corridor in which our communities live, work and socialise. It is not possible with the reference design to understand what the impacts will be. We're concerned that future possible designs could have other adverse impacts and there's no opportunity for community input on assessing those."