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Mernda Rail Project environment protection and biodiversity conservation policy

14 Sep 2016

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 final Preliminary Documentation comprises:

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

If you require special assistance in accessing individual documents from those that are available please contact us on 1800 105 105 or via email at to let us know what you need and we will arrange for it to be supplied.

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