MAJOR TRANSPORT PROJECTS FACILITATION AMENDMENT (EAST WEST
LINK AND OTHER PROJECTS) BILL 2013
-- I move:
- That this bill be now read a second time.
Victoria is growing and changing. The demand for travel and the need to
efficiently move people and goods is growing every day.
The coalition government is committed to delivering major transport
infrastructure projects. They are essential to our economic future and our
Congestion on roads and on public transport hurts our economy and affects all of
our day-to-day lives.
The government is taking decisive action to cut red tape to allow for the
assessment and delivery of major transport projects more quickly and
Legislation has a key part to play in cutting red tape to address the
infrastructure backlog. This is central to transforming our transport system.
Put simply, this bill will deliver much needed infrastructure sooner, and at a
The coalition did not oppose the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act when
it was introduced into this house in 2009.
There are, however, a range of improvements that need to be made to the scheme
to cut red tape and boost productivity for the assessment, and delivery of
The benefits to major transport projects
The east-west road link, the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel and the port of
Hastings are transformative projects. The quicker they are delivered, the
quicker Victorians and Victorian businesses will see the benefits.
The east-west road link is a city-shaping project for Victoria. The new
18-kilometre cross-city freeway-standard link will provide an alternative to the
M1 corridor, alleviate chronic congestion and improve travel time for motorists
and allow freight to be moved around more quickly. The government has committed
to fund stage 1 of this project, which has an estimated capital cost of between
$6 billion and $8 billion.
The Melbourne Metro rail tunnel will untangle the rail network and unlock the
capacity needed to expand the network and increase services to Melbourne's
growth areas in the north, west and south-east. Creating capacity, particularly
in the city loop, also means that more trains can run on all the lines, not just
those running through the new tunnel. In 2012, the government made the first
state contribution to the project, allocating $49.7 million.
Subject to the Premier's approval the legislation will also enable the port of
Hastings development to be delivered.
This project is essential for Victoria's future and the government has provided
$110 million in the budget to kick-start the development.
This act, with the substantial improvements before you, is the foundation on
which these crucial projects can be delivered.
It would also be a mistake to think that the bill is only for
multibillion-dollar projects. It is not just about capital expenditure, it is
about the value to the community that new and upgraded parts of the transport
network can bring. Cycling networks, for example, face the same barriers as
other linear projects in road and rail and the issues associated with getting
This legislation provides an alternative to the environment effects statement
process and the multiple approvals required to deliver state-significant
Delivering major transport projects is a very costly exercise. This bill is
designed to cut down on bureaucracy and channel state funds to where it can
deliver the most benefit -- the transport infrastructure on which we all rely.
The changes before the house are a cornerstone of the government's budget
commitment to deliver better value in infrastructure planning and delivery.
As the budget papers state:
- The government is driving better value for money, streamlining project
approvals and cutting red tape to expedite major projects coming to market.
The government is continuing to implement rigorous processes to improve
infrastructure project delivery and ensure the cost pressures that affected
major projects in the past are not repeated.
This is precisely what this bill is designed to do.
In December last year the government released its economic statement, 'Securing
Victoria's Economy -- Planning, Building, Delivering'.
The strategy outlines the government's vision for public sector reform involving
controlling costs, reducing internal red tape and improving management within
the public sector.
This bill exemplifies this government's commitment to work harder and to work
smarter to cut red tape so the benefits of major transport projects can be
Part 1 of the bill deals with preliminary matters.
Part 2 of the bill makes changes to the Major Transport Projects Facilitation
Act 2009 to:
- introduce a more risk-based assessment regime;
- enable early works on projects, including the
- shorten statutory time frames to improve productivity and speed up projects;
- simplify administrative processes;
- enable more efficient land assembly and project delivery; and
- extend the scope of the act.
Part 3 of the bill addresses other related amendments.
Key changes to the regime
Moving progressively to a risk-based assessment enables a more proportionate
approach to different risks. This will improve assessment efficiencies and
deliver a more practical and focused assessment report for public exhibition and
Early works on projects can provide an opportunity to structure projects to
maximise efficiency and create jobs sooner. This bill makes clear that
declaration of a project does not prevent the delivery of early works outside of
the act's provisions. The act expands, rather than replaces, the methods of
obtaining the necessary approvals for a major transport project. For projects
with early works, it is simply a matter of obtaining any required planning or
environment approvals in accordance with existing applicable laws.
This bill makes significant cuts to time frames for decisions in the assessment
and approval process. Time frames for decisions around pathways, scoping,
release of key documents and approvals have all been halved or more than halved.
The bill not only cuts time frames for decision making, but changes the scheme
to allocate resources more efficiently and shift the focus to the project,
rather than the process itself. An example of this is the simplification of the
administrative steps required to have a project declared.
What the bill does not do is reduce the time frame for public exhibition -- the
onus is on government and government agencies to work more efficiently. This
power does not prevent government from consulting with councils, where relevant.
The bill extends an existing provision to make clear that councils cannot
frustrate projects once that project has been approved by the Minister for
The bill introduces a statutory duty on state agencies to act and make decisions
expeditiously to avoid delay.
The bill also enables more efficient project delivery by reducing red tape to
improve the arrangements for land assembly.
The changes cut red tape to boost productivity in the assessment and delivery of
projects under the act.
The burden of red tape in the system is shouldered by the community and by
business. Every week a project is tied up in administration is another week of
congestion on our transport system. Congestion increases business costs and
decreases the amount of time we all get to spend with our families.
This bill cuts red tape for projects. This bill cuts the time taken to assess,
approve and deliver major transport projects. This bill gives that time back to
the people of Victoria.
I commend the bill to the house.
Debate adjourned on motion of Mr SCOTT (Preston).
Debate adjourned until Thursday, 27 June.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 May 2010