The building and renewal of rail lines around Victoria is following its planned construction schedule, despite a pause on noise restrictions.
The Victorian government announced on Monday, April 6 that new planning rules will exempt essential businesses from existing noise restrictions.
The exemption allows 24-hour dispatch and delivery during the current State of Emergency and for three months after too. New South Wales and Western Australia have also lifted noise restrictions for construction and logistics operations.
Corey Hannett, director-general of the Victorian Major Transport Infrastructure Authority (MTIA) said the Melbourne Metro Tunnel and Level Crossing Removal works have processes in place to manage construction noise and minimise the inconvenience and impacts of construction on local communities.
“MTIA projects are currently considered essential and we are working with our building partners to deliver our critical infrastructure projects while implementing strict safety measures to protect our workforce and the community,” he said.
For all Victorian project works, the majority of the construction happens during the day, however some 24-hour works will be required.
“We understand construction can be disruptive and noisy, especially during major works or at night – that’s why we work with residents to find the best solutions and minimise any impacts,” Hannett said.
Richard Wynne, Victorian Minister for Planning approved the new planning rules and said the measures are to support essential business outside normal business hours.
An Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) spokesperson said the North East Rail Line upgrade currently complies with all existing EPA noise regulations and will continue to comply.
“Our projects will not have a need to utilise this new exemption,” the ARTC spokesperson said.
“If we are required to undertake night works, we provide notification to impacted properties, which is our regulatory requirement.”
John Fullerton, ARTC CEO said in a recent interview that was broadcasted on Sky News that transport companies are moving as much as they can to boost the flow of essential goods and services.
“Rail is no different, we move around five million tonnes across the continent from the eastern seaboard to WA and a lot of our product involves groceries and the hardware that sits on those supermarket shelves,” he said on Sky News.
Fullerton said rail volumes are up approximately 13 per cent due to the unprecedented demand for goods.
“There is never a better time to invest in infrastructure,” Fullerton said.
“One thing coming from this pandemic is looking at major projects to offer economic stimulus.
“It’s a huge opportunity to improve the transport lengths particularly on the Eastern seaboard.”