New milestone or Melbourne’s Suburban Rail Loop

Milestone reached for Suburban Rail Loop, with legislation passed for the projectThe Parliament of Victoria has passed the Suburban Rail Loop Bill 2021, which will support the design and construction of the 90-kilometre orbital rail loop throughout Melbourne’s middle suburbs.

The bill will also support the development of job precincts around each Suburban Rial Loop (SRL) station.

Under the new legislation, Suburban Rail Loop Authority (SRLA) will become a statutory body corporate with the ability to effectively deliver the project.

As outlined in the Business and Investment Case, SRL will generate up to $58.7 billion in economic, social and environmental benefits for Victoria. It will play a significant role in our post-pandemic recovery – generating a pipeline of work and economic stimulus, supporting up to 24,000 jobs across the state.

Victoria’s Minister for Suburban Rail Loop Jacinta Allan said this legislation brings together all elements of SRL into one place.

“In 2018, we promised to build the Suburban Rail Loop – and this legislation lays the foundations to get this project underway,” she said.

“We’re excited to begin our work to deliver thousands of jobs to the suburbs, more open space and change the way Victorians will travel forever.”

As Victoria’s biggest ever transport investment, the SRL will support the resilience of the current network as Victoria’s population grows.

Victoria’s population is expected to grow to 11.2 million by 2056, which will likely force people to live further away from metropolitan Melbourne, resulting in longer commutes.

SRL from Cheltenham to Werribee will pass through multiple local government areas who have differing precinct planning approaches. The new legislation will help to provide consistent processes to planning and decision making across these areas.

Construction starts next year on SRL East between Cheltenham and Box Hill, including six new underground stations and twin 26-kilometre tunnels.

Geotechnical work for SRL East resumes this week, with more than 565 investigations completed and more than 10 kilometres of boreholes drilled.

Hundreds of land and groundwater surveys and around 10,000 laboratory tests have also been undertaken over the past two years, with workers clocking up more than a million hours on SRL so far.

Establishing a dedicated agency to support significant long-term projects is not new. A similar approach was adopted by the Victorian Government to facilitate development of Docklands by the Docklands Authority and the development of new communities in Melbourne’s growth areas by the Victorian Planning Authority.

Communities will continue to have opportunities to have their say through the planning, development and delivery of SRL. In addition, there will be opportunities for formal submissions to be made as part of SRL East’s Environment Effects Statement in the coming weeks.

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