West Gate Tunnel Project

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Background

Maddingley Brown Coal (MBC), a landfill and mine site near Bacchus Marsh, has tendered to receive unclassified spoil generated from the West Gate Tunnel Project (WGTP). The proposal is to receive an estimated 1.5 million cubic metres of spoil 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.

 

EPA Approval

On Tuesday 1 September 2020, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) approved an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for MBC to accept, store and categorise contaminated soil from the WGTP. Further information can be found on the EPA website.

 

Current Status

The EPA’s approval is one step of a process. Another part of the process is an application which was made by MBC to 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 (Act).  Under this section of the Act, the Minister for Planning has the power to amend the planning scheme, without giving notice. The Minister for Planning still needs to assess the application to approve the proposal. If you want to try and have your concerns  heard you can contact the  Minister for Planning, The Hon Richard Wynne. If the Planning Minister approves the proposal, it then needs to pass the Victorian Upper House before works can commence.

Another option you could consider if you have not already done so is to contact the local Members of Parliament and relevant Ministers. Some pertinent contacts are: 

Once the EPA and planning approvals have been granted, the West Gate Tunnel project team must then decide to whom to award the contract.

Below is the timeline of events and correspondence from Council to relevant Ministers and decision-makers.

 

Timeline

Date Correspondence
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.
14 February 2020 CEO writes letter to Minister for Planning outlining that Council has not been afforded proper consultation
19 February 2020 Councillor briefing with the West Gate Tunnel Authority, Transurban, John Holland and MBC further confirming the intention.
21 February 2020 CEO and Mayor met with the Minister for Transport Infrastructure.
25 February 2020 CEO writes another letter to Ministers reiterating that despite numerous requests Council has not been provided technical information or afforded proper consultation.
25 February 2020 Community meeting ran by Bacchus Marsh Community Coalition
4 March 2020 Acting CEO writes letter to Minister for Planning requesting draft incorporated document
23 March 2020 CEO sent letter to Minister for Planning outlining that MBC community briefings is not considered consultation
26 March 2020 CEO sent letter to CEO of WGTA requesting an update on project and MBC proposal
8 April 2020 CEO sent letter to Premier Dan Andrews to update on Council correspondence to date
16 April 2020 CEO replies to CEO of WGTA stating council has not been provided documentation
23 April 2020 Response from CEO of WGTP advising they will continue to help facilitate exchange of information
29 April 2020 CEO replies once more to CEO of WGTA stating council has not been provided documentation 
8 May 2020 CEO sends letter to Planning Minister acknowledging that MBC has submitted the application to the Minister under s20(4) and requests the EPA audit and MSC enforcement proceedings are considered. Still no consultation has occurred.
8 May 2020 Sent above letter to Minster for Energy, Environment and Climate Change
15 May 2020 CEO sends letter to Planning Minister requesting urgent meeting to understand approval pathway and timelines. Also request list of documents provided so that can organise resources to review.
15 May 2020 CEO sent letter to EPA CEO acknowledging that MBC has submitted the application to EPA and Minister under s20(4) and requests the EPA audit and MSC enforcement proceedings are considered. Still no consultation has occurred.
21 May 2020 Response from EPA CEO regarding MBC compliance issues
21 May 2020 Letter from MBC lawyers stating all information provided by Planning Minister confidential
21 May 2020 CEO writes to Executive Director, Statutory Planning Services about the WGT amendment proposal (confidential)
22 May 2020 Urgent letter to Executive Director, Statutory Planning Services about the WGT amendment proposal (confidential)
26 May 2020 Response from to Executive Director, Statutory Planning Services about the WGT amendment proposal (confidential)
28 May 2020 CEO again writes to Executive Director, Statutory Planning Services about the WGT amendment proposal (confidential)
29 May 2020 CEO wrote to EPA CEO requesting documents submitted to them as part of application (confidential)
11 June 2020 Council lodged Freedom of Information (FOI) request with EPA Victoria
15 June 2020 Council paid EPA FOI application fee
22 June 2020 EPA sought clarification of Council’s request
24 June 2020 Council clarified request. EPA confirmed that the FOI will proceed, however sought further clarification
25 June 2020 CEO again writes to Executive Director, Statutory Planning Services about the WGT amendment proposal (confidential)
30 June 2020 Response from to Executive Director, Statutory Planning Services about the WGT amendment proposal (confidential)
1 July 2020 CEO again writes to Executive Director, Statutory Planning Services about the WGT amendment proposal (confidential)
2 July 2020 Council responded to EPA by providing further clarification. EPA responded advising due date of 1 August 2020. 
3 July 2020 Council becomes aware of new EPA Regulations – Environment Protection (Management of Tunnel Boring Machine Spoil) Regulations 2020 (S.R. No. 62/2020)
6 July 2020 CEO writes to CEO EPA requesting information about new regulations
8 July 2020 Response from to Executive Director (Acting), Statutory Planning Services about the WGT amendment proposal (confidential)
9 July 2020 CEO writes to Office of Minister for Planning requesting information about the new regulations
16 July 2020 Response from EPA CEO about new regulations and request for documentation 
19 July 2020 Response from Planning Minister about works outside endorsed plans
20 July 2020 CEO again writes to Executive Director, Statutory Planning Services about the WGT amendment proposal (confidential)
3 August 2020 EPA exercised their statutory right to apply a 15-day extension, decision now due 16 August 2020 due to consultation. 
18 August 2020 Response from Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change addressing non-compliances and new regulations referring to EPA as responsible authority 
21 August 2020 CEO writes to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change about lack of consultation on new regs. Request documents and response at earliest convenience.
28 August 2020 CEO writes to Minister for Planning asking for a number of items, but most importantly an update on proposal 
30 August 2020 Open letter from Mayor, Cr Edwards
31 August 2020 CEO writes to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change reminding of environment concerns and requesting urgent meeting

 

Last Updated:

Friday, 14 February, 2020 - 13:59