The most contentious infrastructure project of the upcoming 2022 state election campaign is the Suburban Rail Loop (SRL).
While construction is already underway on SRL East, Leader of the Opposition, Matthew Guy has promised that a Coalition government would “shelve the SRL”.
In the lead up to the polls, this Gadens planning update provides an overview of the current state of play of the SRL.
The SRL is a Victorian Government led transport project to create a 90km rail line linking every major train service from the Frankston Line to the Werribee Line via Melbourne Airport. The SRL is intended to be delivered in stages over multiple decades, with two of them already underway – the SRL Airport line from Sunshine to Melbourne Airport and the SRL East, which proposes to connect Cheltenham to Box Hill.
Prior to the caretaker period, the Minister for Environment and Climate Change approved Amendment GC197 (Amendment). This Amendment introduced changes to the Bayside, Kingston, Monash and Whitehorse planning schemes (Planning Schemes) to support the first stage of the Suburban Rail Loop East (SRL East) – which is proposed to run from Cheltenham, through Clayton, Monash, Glen Waverley and Burwood to Box Hill.
The Amendment incorporates two documents into the Planning Schemes:
This documents seeks to facilitate the use and development of land for the purposes of the project. It prevails over any contrary or inconsistent provision in the planning schemes.
Amongst other things, it provides under clause 4 that no planning permit is required for the use and development of Project Land for the purposes of the Project. In other words, the Suburban Rail Loop Authority will not need to go through the usual permit application process to commence works related to the Project on (or under) the Project Land, such as the construction of new stations, railways and transport interchanges.
The Project Land is identified in the Special Controls Overlay 14 (SCO14), which was introduced into the Planning Schemes by the Amendment. Please click on the following links below to access maps of the land affected in each local council:
The Amendment also amends Clause 72.01 of the Planning Schemes to make the Minister for Planning the responsible authority for administering and enforcing provisions under the Planning Schemes as they relate to the use and development of the Project Land under the SCO14.
This documents seeks to ensure that future development in the vicinity of the project does not adversely affect the project infrastructure.
It introduces permit requirements for entities seeking to demolish, remove or relocate a building or construct or carry out works (including internal alterations in some circumstances) which were previously exempt under Clauses 62.02-1 and 62.02-2 of the Planning Schemes.
If an application is triggered only by this document, it is exempt from the notice requirements under sections 52(1)(a), (b) and (d), the decision requirements under sections 64(1), (2) and (3) and the review rights under section 82(1) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic). In other words, there is no need for a permit applicant to give notice to owners of adjoining lands, the responsible authority is not required to give notice to objectors of a decision to grant a permit and objectors are unable to apply to the Tribunal for review of a decision to grant a permit.
The land affected by this document is shown in the Special Controls Overlay 15 (SCO15), which was also introduced into the Planning Schemes by the Amendment (see links above).
The Amendment also amends Clause 66.04 of Planning Schemes to make the Suburban Rail Loop Authority the determining referral authority for applications to construct a building or construct or carry out works on land within the SCO15. However, the Bayside, Kingston, Monash and Whitehorse councils will remain responsible for administering and enforcing the requirements of SCO15 to ensure that new development does not compromise the structural integrity or operation of project infrastructure.
For landowners with existing planning permits issued by their relevant local council, the council will remain as the responsible authority for any amendment applications pursuant to section 72 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic).
Landowners need to be aware that a planning permit may now be required for works which previously did not require planning permissions.
Such works include:
If would like specific advice on how these planning changes affect a specific site or proposed development, please contact Andrea Towson of Gadens.
This article has been prepared by Andrea Towson, Sophia Michailides and Carlyna Yap of the Gadens Planning & Environment Team.
Andrea Towson, Partner
Sophia Michailides, Associate
Carlyna Yap, Lawyer