Westgate Tunnel Project

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The owners of a landfill and mine site near Bacchus Marsh have tendered to act as a receiving facility for unclassified spoil generated from the West Gate Tunnel Project. 

An estimated 1.5 million cubic metres of spoil is expected to be generated over the life of the project. The proposal is to receive the material on a 24/7 basis for the duration of the project, which is expected to be 18-24 months. It is proposed that spoil will be stored onsite in purpose-built storage bays, until analytical data is assessed for waste categorisation against EPA classifications. These results will determine the disposal location onsite. A percentage of material may require offsite disposal at a treatment facility if classified as Category B or A waste.

The site’s owners propose to request the Minister for Planning to intervene, to prepare an amendment to the Moorabool Planning Scheme under section 20(4) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987.  Under this section of the planning scheme, the Minister for Planning has the power to amend the planning scheme, with exemption of notice requirement. This includes requirement to consult with Council Officers or Councillors.





 30 October 2019

 Council informally learns of proposal.

 1 November 2019

 Council writes to the Planning Minister requesting an urgent meeting.

 13 November 2019

 Council writes a follow-up letter highlighting the key issues for clarification.

 4 December 2019

 The CEO and two Executives meet with the Ministers Office to discuss the proposed project.


 4 February 2020

 Council writes an additional letter to the Planning Minister further highlighting its concerns and lack of consultation. Council also writes to the Minister for Transport Infrastructure.


4 February 2020

 Council has an initial phone conversation with West Gate Tunnel Authority and Transurban.


 10 February 2020

 Council Officers meet with the West Gate Tunnel Authority, Transurban, John Holland and MBC confirming the intention. Council officers request a briefing for Councillors.



 12 February 2020

 Council writes to the Planning Minister.


 13 February 2020   

 Mayor writes a letter seeking a meeting with the Minister for Transport Infrastructure.

 The Minister for Transport Infrastructure accepts the invitation to meet.


Key Issues Raised

A summary of the key issues that Officers have raised are:


          Traffic impact assessment

  • It is understood that the proposed waste intake will increases the heavy vehicle movements to approximately one truck every six minutes. 


          Road upgrade

  • During a previous assessment of the entrance to the landfill site, Regional Roads Victoria determined an additional turning lane and other upgrades are required to maintain safety on that stretch of road. 
  • The gravel roads in the area and not wide enough to allow for two-way traffic. A road upgrade will need to be reviewed for this proposal and acted on accordingly. 


         Hours of operation

  • There are several sensitive uses surrounding the landfill site that claim to already be adversely impacted by the hours of operation. 
  • With the proposed 24 hours per day, seven days a week, Council requires an understanding on what mitigation will be implemented to protect the community from noise and other amenity impacts.


         Community consultation and offsite impacts

  • During a Planning Scheme Amendment there is no requirement for community consultation.
  • The surrounding community is already in a negative state of mind regarding landfill operations. 
  • The site has many sensitive use interfaces, including the Bacchus Marsh Grammar School that educates children from prep to year 12. 


        Maddingley Planning Study

  • Council is conducting the Maddingley Planning Study of which the landfill and mine site makes up a large proportion. 


        Parwan Creek and Irrigation District

  • Parwan Creek flows through the site. The creek flows into the Werribee River to the north east. The Werribee River provides water for irrigation districts at Bacchus Marsh and Werribee and water for urban areas. Groundwater aquifers also exist beneath the study area. Potential contamination of these waterways is a significant risk to the region and beyond.


Planning Scheme Amendment Process

The owners of the site propose to request the Minister for Planning to intervene, to prepare an amendment to the Moorabool Planning Scheme under section 20(4) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987. Section 20(4) refers to the ability of the Minister for Planning to amend the Planning Scheme without consultation. It is however discretionary on the Minister as to whether consultation occurs and to what extent. 

Any person can request Ministerial intervention to prepare an amendment to a planning scheme. The planning practice note ‘Ministerial Powers of Intervention in Planning and Heritage Matters (2004)’ provides criteria that is considered by the Minister in making a decision on whether to intervene.

The process for requesting Ministerial intervention can be summarised as follows:

  1. The applicant will request the Minister’s intervention.
  2. Minister considers the request in accordance with the following criteria:
    1. The matter will be one of genuine State or regional significance.
    2. The matter will give effect to an outcome where the issues have been reasonably considered and the views of affected parties are known.
    3. The matter will be the introduction of an interim provision or requirement and substantially the same provision or requirement is also subject to a separate process of review (such as the introduction of permanent controls in a planning scheme).
    4. The matter will raise issues of fairness or public interest.
    5. The matter requires co-ordination to facilitate decision-making by more than one agency.

If the Minister decides to intervene, there is no requirement for public notification under the Planning and Environment Act 1987.  There is also no requirement for consultation with Council.

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Last Updated:

Friday, 14 February, 2020 - 13:59