Yarra and Moreland legal challenge - East West Link

In July 2014, Yarra joined Moreland Council in seeking a judicial review of the Minster for Planning’s approvals of the East West Link.

A December 15 hearing date has been set for the case, which will come just weeks after the November state election.

You can read Yarra's submission to the Supreme Court for the hearing here: pdf format Yarra Council - Supreme Court Submission (409.87 KB)

Both Councils are resolute that the process followed by the Minister was deficient and that a favourable finding in the Supreme Court will invalidate any contract signed between the State Government and potential contractors, regardless of when it is signed

Cr Jackie Fristacky said the community wanted Council to advocate on their behalf because of the devastating impact the East West Link project would have on the lives of so many residents.

You can view Cr Fristacky's explanation of Council's decision to pursue a judicial review in the video below.

“There is despair in Yarra about the lack of transparency surrounding this project, the impact it will have on inner city liveability and the fact that the $8 billion for the East West Link would detract from vital public transport projects to reduce inner city traffic congestion as opposed to inducing traffic which is what the tunnel will do, especially on Hoddle Street and Flemington Road,” Cr Fristacky said.

“As elected members, we have an obligation under the Local Government Act to represent the best interests of our community on issues that affect them and this is an issue of monumental significance.” 

 

In mid-September 2014, Yarra and Moreland councils wrote to Premier Denis Napthine urging him to delay the government’s plans to acquire private properties and sign contracts for the East West Link project until a court had ruled on the lawfulness of the proposal.

The joint Yarra and Moreland letter argued that the government should wait until early 2015 to issue acquisition notices to property owners, highlighting previous statements made by the Linking Melbourne Authority that indicated it did not need to acquire land for the project until August 2015.

 docx format Joint letter to Premier Napthine regarding East West Link from Moreland and Yarra Councils - 15 September 2014 (480.92 KB)

 

Key points of the letter:

  • The Councils contend that a fundamental component of the assessment regime under the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act is the transparent assessment of costs and benefits of the project to ensure that Victorians receive the best value for money. 
  • The assessment committee appointed by the Minister for Planning stated in its report that it was ‘not in a position to undertake an economic assessment of the Project…’ because no economic evidence was provided to it. 
  • The Minister for Planning has stated that he did ‘not rely on a business case’ in making his decision. 
  • The Minister refuses to disclose whether or not he considered economic evidence justifying the proposal.  It remains unclear whether or not the Minister has even considered the Government’s secret business case.  
  • If the Councils claims are upheld by the Supreme Court there will be no approval authorising the project or any step taken to deliver the project unless a fresh approval is granted or new legislation passed.
  • Contracts should not be signed until after the outcome of the court case so that citizens are not exposed to potential claims from contractors if the project cannot proceed. 

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