The alliance of Banyule, Boroondara and Whitehorse Councils (BBW) continues to advocate strongly on behalf of our communities as panel hearings commence for the North East Link (NEL) Inquiry and Advisory Committee (IAC).

The legal team representing the BBW joint submission on the project’s Environment Effects Statement (EES) today presented its opening submission. Expert witnesses are expected to commence on Monday 12 August and will outline detailed reports on deficiencies in the assessment of the project impacts, as well as explaining alternatives to the proposed design.

The Panel Hearing timetable is subject to change and is available at Engage Victoria (under ‘Document Library’).

These reports and proposed alternatives cross a range of disciplines including traffic and transport, ecology, noise, air quality, traffic modelling and open space.

Expert witnesses in the fields of urban design, landscape and visual, ground water and surface water will appear on behalf of both the BBW Alliance and other Councils.

Expert witness reports prepared on behalf of BBW can be accessed on the Engage Victoria website (under ‘Tabled documents’, document numbers '28A' to '28L' and '30A' to '30E').

All 874 submissions to the EES are also available on the Engage Victoria website.

The Panel Hearing is expected to end on Friday 13 September. Following this, the IAC will prepare a recommendation for the Minister for Planning. The Minister will then make the final decision on whether the project should proceed and if so, what changes need to be made.

As Mayors of their respective alliance member Councils, Cr Jane Addis, Cr Wayne Phillips and Cr Bill Bennett fully support and endorse the comments made by the alliance’s legal counsel in their opening submission to the panel hearing.

Quotes attributable to Mayor of Boroondara, Cr Jane Addis:

"We hope the Victorian Government is approaching these hearings in the genuine spirit of consultation. The Councils, community groups, subject matter experts and individuals presenting have invested much time, effort and passion into their submissions and these concerns and suggestions need to be considered."

"The Alliance of Boroondara, Banyule and Whitehorse Councils are presenting a considered alternative to the North East Link in its current form, strongly supported by expert research and analysis."

"Our joint submission offers an alternative that will serve to offset some of the major and long lasting detrimental impacts on our communities and the environment."

Quotes attributable to Mayor of Banyule, Cr Wayne Phillips:

"The Alliance of Banyule, Boroondara and Whitehorse Councils are pleased to have the opportunity to present our case for changes to the North East Link in its current form."

"Our submission suggests an alternative to better protect the natural environment, preserve local neighbourhoods and provide real solutions to the transport issues in Melbourne’s north, which the proposed design does not do."

"This is a massive project that will have an enormous impact on the Banyule community both during and post construction. A longer tunnel north of Lower Plenty Rd could reduce property acquisition and minimise the impact to residents, businesses, and parklands. The Alliance’s proposed changes deserve the full consideration of the Victorian Government."

Quotes attributable to Mayor of Whitehorse, Cr Bill Bennett:

"The City of Whitehorse welcomes the opportunity to be heard on the proposed North East Link route. Our joint submission with Boroondara and Banyule Councils will offer a comprehensive alternative that seeks to reduce the project’s impact on health, safety, amenity and the environment within Whitehorse and across the project area."

"The scale of the North East Link project is massive, and the Victorian Government need to make sure they do it right and reduce the negative impact on local communities, infrastructure and the environment."