North East Link legal challenge update
Published on 28 July 2020
Following the decisions of Boroondara, Manningham and Whitehorse councils, Banyule Council has resolved to withdraw from the judicial review process of the North East Link project (NELP).
In making the decision, Council was informed by updated legal advice that considered the merits of continuing an independent legal challenge along with a recent Supreme Court case ruling on Environmental Effects Statement (EES) processes.
Council has been able to ensure that it will have direct input in the detailed design phases of the project as well as securing greater benefits to the local community as part of the project.
Banyule Mayor, Cr Alison Champion said:
“Our decision to not continue with the legal challenge is driven by the same desire we have always had, that is to get best designed NELP that delivers the maximum benefit for our community.”
“We are convinced that pursuing a legal challenge given recent legal rulings of a similar nature regarding EES processes is not in the best interests of our community and would lessen our ability to ensure we get the best outcomes from the project”.
Since 2017 Council has advocated strongly to secure improvements to the NELP. The public EES process confirmed the validity of many of the improvements Council has sought including, properly exploring an extended tunnel, improving the Lower Plenty Road interchange, protecting Watsonia by improving access to the centre and delivering broader cycling and pedestrian infrastructure and environmental protections.
While the Minister for Planning did not mandate that the NELP include an extended tunnel or improved Lower Plenty Road interchange, construction bidders have been encouraged to look at these improvements through their design process. Council has already presented the merits of these and other key improvements to the short listed construction companies and will continue to make the case that these improvements are needed and beneficial.
The outcome of the mediation process has ensured that Council and the community are given maximum opportunity to provide detailed input to the design as it is developed for construction.
“We will continue to advocate on behalf of our community and work directly with NELP and the preferred construction company to improve the project that will be built.”
As well as providing Council with ongoing direct involvement in the design, development and construction phases on the project, the Victorian Government and NELP have agreed to deliver additional improvements to Watsonia Village, an area immediately impacted by the NELP as well as significant improvements to pedestrian and cycling paths throughout Banyule.
These commitments are in addition to the already secured $30m of improvements and expansion to Banyule’s sporting and community facilities resulting from sporting clubs relocating to Banyule.
Media enquires contact Shawn Neilsen 0412 616 229 or email@example.com