VicRoads proposes to duplicate the Western Highway between Beaufort and Ararat (Section 2) as part of a larger project to duplicate the highway between Ballarat and Stawell. The proposed duplication commences at the railway crossing west of Beaufort and extends for a distance of 38 kms to Heath Street, Ararat.
Minister for Planning's Assessment
In May 2013, the Minister for Planning released his Assessment under the Environment Effects Act 1978, which concludes the Environment Effects Statement (EES) process.
The Assessment was provided to statutory decision-makers to inform approval decisions on this project.
A combined Inquiry and Advisory Committee was appointed to consider submissions made in response to the proposal. A Directions Hearing was held on 13 November 2012.
Public Hearings were held on 4, 5 and 6 December 2012.
The Inquiry/Advisory Committee submitted its report on 11 February 2013.
Exhibition of EES
The EES for the Western Highway Duplication - Beaufort to Ararat project, together with Draft Planning Scheme Amendments, were released for public comment from 14 September to 25 October 2012.
VicRoads prepared a Communication and Consultation Plan outlining the opportunities for community engagement during the preparation of the EES.
On 27 October 2010, the former Minister for Planning decided that an EES under the Environment Effects Act 1978 was required for the proposal to duplicate the Western Highway between Beaufort and Ararat.
On 17 December 2010, the delegate of the Commonwealth Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities also decided that the project was a controlled action and requires assessment and approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) because of potential impacts on listed threatened species and communities.
In order to avoid duplication of assessment processes, the Victorian EES process that has been accredited under the bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and the State of Victoria is to be applied to the duplication project.
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 Department's 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.