Major infrastructure projects

North East Link


The proposed North East Link would provide a new road link between the Metropolitan Ring Road at Greensborough and the Eastern Freeway. The proposed project includes:

  • twin tunnels travelling under the Yarra River
  • two tunnel ventilation structures
  • and upgrades to Eastern Freeway including Doncaster Busway.

The North East Link Project (NELP) is responsible for all aspects of the project including:

  • developing the business case
  • stakeholder
  • community engagement
  • and procurement.

Environment effects statement

On 2 February 2018, the Victorian Minister for Planning declared the works proposed for the NELP as ‘public works’ requiring an environment effects statement (EES). This includes a community consultation and an independent Inquiry and Advisory Committee (IAC) review to inform the Minister’s assessment and decision-making. Read the Minister’s reasons for the EES decision under the Environment Effects Act 1978.

The EES process provides for the analysis of potential effects on environmental assets, as well as methods on how to avoid, minimise or manage adverse effects. It also includes public involvement and the opportunity for an integrated response to a proposal. Read more information on the EES process.

The IAC commenced its public hearings on 25 July 2019. The IAC will hear submissions that can be used to inform the EPA's consideration of the works approval application (WAA) for the NELP tunnel ventilation system. This is in addition to reviewing the EES and draft Planning Scheme Amendment.

EPA’s role

During the preparation of the EES, the Minister requested a technical reference group (TRG) be appointed. The TRG included members from government agencies, local government and statutory authorities. This was organized through the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). The North East Link TRG provides advice to NELP and DELWP on the preparation of the EES.

As a member of the TRG, EPA provided a review of EES documentation, including technical reports for the project, ensuring potential impacts to the environment and human health were addressed.

In June, EPA provided its written submission (submission number 600) to the IAC. EPA is currently presenting its submission at the IAC public hearings. They will run until mid-September this year. 

EPA will also assess and determine a works approval application for the NELP tunnel ventilation system.

North East Link Project works approval application

EPA has received and accepted a works approval application for the construction of the tunnel ventilation system. This is required as part of the NELP. The project’s tunnel ventilation system is scheduled per the Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises) Regulations 2017. A works approval is required under the Environment Protection Act 1970. More information on EPA works approvals.

The works approval application is included as Attachment VI of the North East Link EES.

EPA is currently undertaking an assessment of the works approval application. EPA will:

  1. review all relevant public submissions made to the IAC
  2. attend the public hearings,
  3. review the Minister for Planning’s assessment of the EES
  4. finalise its assessment decision of the WAA.

EPA's priority is the health of the community and the environment. We will ensure the application complies with the Environment Protection Act 1970 and relevant environmental policies.

EPA has not yet finished assessing the tunnel ventilation system. The position expressed in our submission to the IAC is the minimum expectation EPA would have if a works approval is issued. EPA’s assessment may lead to further considerations. 

EPA has issued a notice under section 22 of the Environment Protection Act 1970 requiring NELP to provide further information.

On 5 September, EPA received a response to the notice.

To enquire about the works approval application, email: approvals.applications@epa.vic.gov.au

EPA will make a decision on the works approval application following:

  • the Planning Minister's assessment of the EES
  • and after the decision on the Planning Scheme Amendment in late 2019.

Page last updated on 10 Sep 2019