31 March – Day 20

Monday 31 March

Today’s schedule:

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The EPA is presenting their views on noise and greenhouse emissions this morning.

The EPA does not have a role in regulating traffic noise – responsibility for this rests with VicRoads. The EPA does not have a policy on night noise and has no views on NSW policy.

Instead, the EPA monitors noise from ventilation stacks, construction and vibration.

There are noise limits for ventilation stacks. Detailed designs will be needed to show that the stacks comply. These have not been provided for this project, but noise can be managed through design.

Noise from construction is not assessed in the CIS.

EPA supports satisfactory performance requirements: PRNV2 is appropriate for tunnel ventilation; PRNV6 is appropriate for construction and the EPA has provided written guidance.

Is compliance complaint based? No, would need to be demonstrated. Jet fans in tunnel?  Break out noise?  Questions, questions!

12pm update

The EPA submission proceeds with a great deal of technical detail, but restricted in scope as the EPA does not have responsibility for surface roads.

Further evidence is presented on surface water, but the EPA is content with the performance requirement SW1 to meet the current conditions of Merri Creek, Yarra River and Moonee Ponds Creek. SEPP requirements are not currently met by run off.

The EPA has sought further information on SW4 (management of waste water) and SW6 (dealing with spills in the tunnel).

On contaminated groundwater and associated risks, the EPA recommends thorough assessment of existing ground water by any successful tenderer including volumes and contamination of ground water to be extracted, and a subsequent management plan.

A clean up notice has already been issued with respect to the Fitzroy ‘gas site’.

The EPA says construction activities should not lead to contamination of ground water.

On soil and waste management, transport, stockpiling, treatment and reuse of contaminated soil are all issues – particularly where asbestos and cemetery waste have been identified.

The witness made few comments on the potential use of Ross Straw Field to store soil.

Further information will be forthcoming on Friday.

2pm update

The final presentation for the morning was an epilogue from the City of Melbourne (document 273).

Several points were made:

Performance requirements must provide certainty to community and must be enforceable. They must also be subject to real consultation.

To be enforceable, performance requirements must be conditions of the approval decision under the Planning and Environment Act otherwise they are weightless.

The full cost of benefits must be provided to determine net cost benefit.

Further submissions were put on the impact on Royal Park and the heritage value of the park.

Hearings resume at 3pm.

4pm – Richard Wynne MP, State Labor Member for Richmond

Richard Wynne, State Member for Richmond.

Mr Wynne argued strongly against the EWL saying: it won’t be a congestion buster as claimed; no business case has been released; and the use of wider economic benefits (WEB) to claim that cost benefit ratio is 1.4 is “atypical” methodology for these sorts of projects.

He questioned the traffic modelling relied on by the LMA and spoke passionately about local issues.

He questioned why EVO investors were bought out, but long-term residents in Bendigo St (those left behind on west side of Bendigo St) will receive no compensation for the flyover 15 meters from their homes. And for those being compulsorily acquired, he said no amount of money could compensate for their loss.

Mr Wynne questioned the LMA’s reliance on an over-engineered design for Hoddle St and its refusal to consider alternatives.

He argued that air pollution cannot be assessed numerically – need to model impacts through use of wind tunnel and to scale models – Monash Uni has this sort of facility.

In summary, the benefits are overstated and the costs understated.  The EWL does not represent value for money.

We must consider the impact on future generations. The very liveability of Melbourne rests on the committee’s shoulders. They should exercise their discretion under s71B of the act and recommend refusing planning permits and require a new set of proposals.

The Chair recognised his concerns for local electorate and asked Mr Wynne if he had concerns about linking the Eastern Freeway with CityLink.

Mr Wynne replied he certainly did and said the project is not a 21st century solution to our traffic problems.

His presentation is tabled as document 280.

Jennifer Kanis MP  State Labor Member for Melbourne

Ms Kanis also spoke to the lack of clear information available to the public. She noted that LMA staff have often been unable to answer specific questions and that there has been at times inconsistencies in the information provided. She noted that no specific information on locations of smoke stacks and measures to divert adverse impacts has been provided, and she urged the Panel to refuse to accept the project due to lack of certainty.

She spoke to the birdlife she has personally experienced at Moonee Ponds Creek, and the devastating impact the EWL would have, and she urged the Panel to pay an extended visit to the area.

Jane Garrett MP  State Labor Member for Brunswick

The member for Brunswick, Ms Garrett, noted that six generations of her family have lived in inner Melbourne. Her presentation reflected on those of Ms Kanis and Mr Wynne before her, but she drew particular attention to the impact of EWL on sporting fields. She said that a full appraisal of all sporting clubs’ needs in the future, in a rapidly growing inner-city community, must be completed before panel can make a decision.

Brian Tee MP (Labor) Shadow Minister for Planning

Mr Tee, representing the Eastern Metropolitan Region and Shadow Minister for Planning and Sustainable Growth, Major Projects and Infrastructure, provided a detailed submission to the Panel.

Mr Tee noted that the panel needs a compelling case for such radical surgery to occur and for at least 5 years, Melbourne city will become a construction zone with workers and local residents exposed to contaminated materials. He reminded the panel that, using the LMA’s own figures, by 2031, this project will save 0.011 or 4 seconds off an hourly commute.

Mr Tee also drew attention to the rushed process the government and LMA are following; calling it an absurd proposition where tenderers are not yet aware of the outcomes of this panel before they are required to tender for the project.

Justin Madden MP State Labor Member for Essendon was due to speak today also but was unable to attend due to personal bereavement so his session will be moved to 9 April.

Colleen Hartland Greens MLC for Western Metropolitan

Ms Hartland, representing the Western Metropolitan Region and spoke on behalf of all Greens MPs, federal members and senators.

Ms Hartland made it clear that the Greens do not support the project in any form and will continue to support community action against this project (including nonviolent direct action). She noted that Greens at all levels of government have been refused access to business case documents.

Ms Hartland said the Coalition government was elected to fix public transport, and hence should not sign the tenders until after the election so it can stand as an election issue.


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