Proponent: Western Distributor Authority
The Western Distributor Project is subject to ongoing design development, including consultation with the community and key stakeholders. This project includes the following key components:
- Widening the West Gate Freeway by two lanes in each direction, between Williamstown Road and M80, plus collector-distributor carriageways, elevated ramps, structures and surface road connections.
- Two bored tunnels ultimately catering for three traffic lanes in both directions under Yarraville and new ramps for vehicles to access Hyde Street.
- A bridge across the Maribyrnong River connecting the new tunnel, connections to the Port of Melbourne and viaducts (elevated roads) in both directions above Footscray Road.
- Connections to CityLink and access to Docklands, West Melbourne and central city via connections to Footscray Road, Dynon Road and Wurundjeri Way.
- The extension and widening of Wurundjeri Way by one lane in each direction to the intersection with Flinders Street.
The Western Distributor Authority (WDA) is a public administrative office formed on the 16 June 2016 under the Public Administration Act 2004 as part of the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR). The role of the WDA is to manage the delivery of the Western Distributor Project, which includes the Western Distributor, which is being assessed through an Environment Effects Statement (EES), and the Monash Freeway Upgrade and Webb Dock access improvements.
Environment Effects Statement
The WDA is currently preparing the EES for the project in light of the EES Scoping Requirements (see below) and the Ministerial Guidelines. WDA has prepared and is implementing a consultation plan covering engagement with stakeholders while the EES is being prepared (see below).
A Technical Reference Group, with members from government agencies, local government and statutory authorities, has been appointed to provide advice to WDA and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) during the preparation of the EES.
When the Minister is satisfied that WDA has prepared a suitable EES, he will authorise the statement to be exhibited for public comment for a period of 30 business days (at least six weeks). The exhibition will be advertised and submissions will be invited. Currently this is expected in mid-2017.
The Minister will appoint an Inquiry to evaluate the public submissions, having regard to the EES studies and the relevant statutory requirements.
At the final stage of the EES process, having considered the Inquiry Report, the EES documents and public submissions, the Minister will make his Assessment providing authoritative advice about the project's environmental effects and how they might be managed, for the guidance of statutory decision-makers.
Declared 'public works' under the Environment Effects Act 1978.
'Public works' are defined as being works undertaken, or proposed to be undertaken, by or on behalf of the Crown or for public statutory bodies, but does not include works undertaken by or on behalf of municipal councils.
On 10 December 2015, DEDJTR (prior to WDA being established) provided the Minister for Planning with a Project Outline, and requested that the Minister declare the project described in the Project Outline to be 'public works' for the purposes of section 3(1) of the Environment Effects Act.
On 23 December 2015, the Minister for Planning declared the works proposed for the Western Distributor Project in order to require a rigorous Environment Effects Statement (EES), which included community consultation and an independent panel review to inform the Minister's Assessment and decision-making.
In making his Order, the Minister has specified the following procedure and requirements that are to apply to the EES.
In accordance with normal EES practice, a statement of the Minister's Reasons for Order has been prepared and can be viewed here.
The Minister for Planning has released the Scoping Requirements for the EES to be prepared by DEDJTR for the Western Distributor Project. Scoping Requirements set out the matters to be investigated and documented in the EES. The draft Scoping Requirements were available for public comment from 22 February to 15 March 2016 and the submissions received were used to inform the final Scoping Requirements.
This Communications and Engagement Strategy by DEDJTR (prior to WDA being established) outlines the engagement that will take place during preparation of the Western Distributor EES. Its objective is to build on the activities completed and information gathered to date, as well as gather information to inform project design and specialist studies being completed as part of the EES. The Communications and Engagement Strategy will be integrated with the statutory public exhibition period and broader EES approach including the independent inquiry process.
Questions relating to the Western Distributor Project should be directed to the Western Distributor Authority on 1800 817 687 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions relating to the EES process should be directed to the department's Impact Assessment Unit on (03) 8392 5458 or email@example.com