The Ballarat Line Upgrade has been assessed through the established planning assessment process and construction is almost complete.
The statutory environmental and planning approvals process for the Ballarat Line Upgrade has included:
- A project declaration under the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act 2009 (MTPFA)
- a referral under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), submitted to the (Federal) Minister for the Environment and Energy
- a referral under the Environment Effects Act 1978 (EEA) determining if an Environmental Effects Statement (EES) was required, submitted to the (State) Minister for Planning, and
- Planning Scheme Amendments to the Melton and Moorabool Shire Planning Schemes, submitted to the (State) Minister for Planning.
In August 2017, the Premier of Victoria declared the Ballarat Line Upgrade to be a project to which the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act 2009 (MTPFA) (other than Parts 3 and 8) applies. On 5 October 2017, the Minister for Planning designated the MTPFA Project Area for the Ballarat Line Upgrade.
The Premier of Victoria appointed the Minister for Public Transport as Project Minister for the Ballarat Line Upgrade.
Learn more about the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act (external link).
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act referral
An EPBC Act referral was required to assess whether the Ballarat Line Upgrade was likely to have a significant impact on matters of National Environmental significance.
The EPBC referral was published on the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Energy's website (Reference number 2017/7980).
Following the published referral, the decision was made that the proposed action would not have a significant impact and therefore was not a controlled action.
Learn more about the EPBC referral process
Environmental Effects Statement
A written referral was sent to the Minister for Planning requesting a decision on whether an Environment Effects Statement (EES) was required for the Ballarat Line Upgrade.
The Minister for Planning decided on the 10th of August 2017 that an Environmental Effects Statement was not required for the Ballarat Line Upgrade. The reasons for the decision can be found here.
Planning Schemes set out policies and provisions for the orderly use and development of private and public land.
Each local government area in Victoria is covered by a planning scheme. The operation of planning schemes in Victoria is governed by the Planning and Environment Act 1987.
Ballarat Line Upgrade Planning Scheme Amendment (GC69)
The Ballarat Line Upgrade Planning Scheme Amendment GC69 was approved by the Minister for Planning and Gazetted on 5th October 2017. The Planning Scheme Amendment applied to land within the road and rail corridors affected by the project as well as any land temporarily required for access and to support construction. The amendment provided site specific controls via an incorporated document permitting development of the project without the need for further planning permits.
Melton Planning Scheme Amendment C194
An amendment to the Melton Planning Scheme (C194) was required to facilitate the delivery of a new station at Cobblebank. This amendment was approved by the Minister for Planning and Gazetted on the 26th June 2018.
Planning Scheme Amendment GC95 for Additional Works
An amendment to the Ballarat, Moorabool and Melton Planning Schemes was required to deliver additional works as part of the Ballarat Line Upgrade that will further improve the Ballarat line and reduce the project’s environmental impacts during construction. Planning Scheme Amendment GC95 was approved by the Minister for Planning and Gazetted on the 28th March 2019.
The additional project works included:
- A second platform and new tracks at Wendouree station including a new accessible pedestrian overpass between platforms, and added security features including lighting and signage
- Duplication of around three kilometres of track between Bacchus Marsh station and Rowsley Station Road in Maddingley
- Signalling upgrades at various locations along the rail corridor including Wendouree, Dunnstown, Millbrook, Ballan, Maddingley, Brookfield, Bacchus Marsh and Caroline Springs.
You can view the Planning Scheme Amendment and accompanying material here.
Project area designation
On 5 October 2017 the Minister for Planning designated the project area under section 95 of the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act 2009.
The designation of the project area enables the project proponent (Secretary to Department of Transport) to use the project delivery powers (including land acquisition) under the Act.
To facilitate the delivery of the new station at Cobblebank, the Project Area was varied in June 2018.
To facilitate the delivery of the additional scope items at Wendouree Station, the Project Area was varied in March 2019.