Publication of Preliminary Documentation under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999
The Mernda Rail Extension Project (MREP) will stretch through semi-rural land for approximately 8 kilometres between South Morang and Mernda. The land we will be building on has been set aside as a railway corridor since the 1880s. This section of the old Whittlesea rail line was closed in 1959 and the track was removed in the 1970s, but the railway reserve was retained to enable future rail services to Melbourne's northern growth area.
Even though the land has been previously disturbed, LXRA undertook a range of important assessments, including the environment and heritage assessments required for compliance with the EPBC Act.
The Act is overseen by the Australian Minister for Environment and Energy and provides a legal framework to protect and manage nationally and internationally important flora, fauna, ecological communities and heritage places. The MREP was referred to the Minister on 24 March 2016 under the EPBC Act.
The EPBC referral deals specifically with potential impacts on matters of national environmental significance (MNES), being listed threatened species and communities (section 18 and 18A) protected under Part 3 of the EPBC Act.
The potential impacts on MNES of the MREP are:
- impact on 129 Matted Flax-lily (Dianella amoena) plants
- clearance of 0.82 ha of an ecological community classified as Grassy Eucalypt Woodland of the Victorian Volcanic Plain
Following assessment of our referral, the Department of Environment and Energy (DoEE) determined the project may have potential for a significant impact on MNES and is considered a "controlled action". This meant the project could only proceed with approval of the Minister for Environment and Energy or his delegate. To enable a full assessment of the Project, the DoEE requested further information from LXRA to address specific matters.
LXRA's response to the DoEE was called "draft Preliminary Documentation" and sets out how the impacts of the project on matters of national environmental significance would be mitigated and managed to acceptable levels.
In September 2016, LXRA published the draft Preliminary Documentation and invited public comment. No comments were received during the publication period, so the Preliminary Documentation report was updated to include the outcome of the public consultation and re-published as the final version for assessment by the DoEE.
Following assessment of the Preliminary Documentation, the decision to approve the project under the EPBC Act was made on 29 March 2017. The approval and related public notices can be found at DoEE public notices and referrals and by searching for referral number 7674.
Approved Management Plans
The following management plans are approved for the project:
Materials submitted by LXRA to the DoEE
LXRA's formal Notice of Publication for information - Notice PDF, 163.1 KB
Our original referral, comprising:
- The completed referral form PDF, 638.3 KB containing a description of the project and potential impacts
- Attachment 1: Project Area PDF, 1.6 MB
- Attachment 2: Ecological Assessment PDF, 19.4 MB, Revision 0: March 2016 which contains an assessment of ecological impacts of the project
- Attachment 3: Draft Matted Flax-lily Translocation Plan PDF, 17.4 MB, Revision 0: March 2016 which is LXRA's proposed plan to relocate plants
- Attachment 4: LXRA Sustainability Policy PDF, 484.8 KB
The final Preliminary Documentation comprises:
- Preliminary Documentation report PDF, 954.9 KB which is a response to the DoEE's request for more information
- Attachment 1: Figures incorporating plans and maps
- Attachment 2: EPBC Referral document PDF, 638.3 KB which is the original referral
- Attachment 3: Matted Flax-lily Translocation Plan PDF, 5.0 MB, Revision 1: August 2016 noting LXRA's proposed plan to relocate plants
- Attachment 4: Offset Strategy PDF, 1.3 MB noting LXRA's proposed strategy to offset unavoidable impacts
- Attachment 5: SMREP McDonalds Road Grassy Eucalypt Woodland Offset Management Plan PDF, 1.6 MB which is the original management plan from the South Morang Rail Extension project for the McDonald's Road Offset Site, that will need to be updated
- Attachment 6: Consultation report PDF, 1.3 MB noting LXRA's consultation for the project
- Attachment 7: Climate Risk Assessment PDF, 660.3 KB noting climate risk associated with the project
- Attachment 8: Ecological Assessment PDF, 6.0 MB, Revision 1: May 2016 which is an assessment of ecological impacts of the project
- Attachment 9: LXRA Sustainability Policy PDF, 484.6 KB
- Attachment 10: MREP Environmental Management Framework PDF, 190.2 KB, Revision 1: 26 July 2016
All of the documents were on display for information between 24 October and 21 November 2016, at the following locations:
- Whittlesea City Council – Ferres Boulevard, South Morang
- Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning – 8 Nicholson Street, East Melbourne
- Department of the Environment and Energy, Canberra
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