VicRoads proposes to duplicate the Western Highway between Ararat and Stawell (Section 3), as part of a larger project to upgrade the Western Highway from Ballarat to Stawell. The proposed duplication would commence about 3 km from the Ararat Town Centre (200m NW of Pollards Lane) and terminate about 3 km from the Stawell Town Centre (about 200m before Gilchrist Road).
Note that bypasses of Stawell and Ararat are not part of this project.
Minister for Planning's Assessment
In October 2013, the Minister for Planning released his Assessment under the Environment Effects Act 1978, which concludes the Environment Effects Statement (EES) process. The Assessment has been provided to statutory decision-makers to inform approval decisions on this project.
The Minister for Planning established a combined Inquiry and Advisory Committee to consider the submissions made in response to the proposal. The Inquiry held its hearings on 8 and 9 April 2013.
The Inquiry/Advisory Committee submitted its report on 4 June 2013.
Exhibition of EES
The EES for the Western Highway Duplication - Ararat to Stawell project, together with Draft Planning Scheme Amendments, was released for public comment from 20 December 2012 to 14 February 2013.
VicRoads has prepared a Communication and Consultation Plan that outlines the opportunities for community engagement during the preparation of the EES.
On 21 October 2010, the Minister for Planning requested that VicRoads prepare an EES under the Environment Effects Act 1978 to assess the likely environmental effects of the proposal.
On 20 December 2010, the Australian Government Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities decided that the project required assessment and approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) because of potential impacts on listed threatened species and communities. The EES has been accredited as the required assessment for this project under the EPBC Act.
Draft Scoping Requirements for the EES were placed on public exhibition from 17 May to 10 June 2011. The Minister for Planning issued the final Scoping Requirements for the EES on 6 November 2011.
Questions relating to the project should be directed to Grant Deeble at VicRoads on (03) 5309 1071.
Questions relating to the EES process should be directed to the Environment Assessment Unit on (03) 8392 5477.
Questions relating to the submission and Inquiry process should be directed to Planning Panels Victoria on (03) 8392 6396.