Minister ignores advice to redesign Wandong interchange
20 October 2016
Secret documents on the Kilmore Wallan bypass reveal the Andrews Government was advised to redesign the Wandong interchange to minimise its landscape and visual impacts.
Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan obtained the Planning Minister’s assessment of the project under the Environment Effects Act under freedom of information laws.
The documents show Roads Minister Luke Donnellan announced the bypass despite the Planning Minister’s assessment a month before which found that the visual impact of the Wandong interchange was not properly addressed in the environmental effects statement (EES).
The assessment states: ‘…the potential impacts from the redesign of the Hume Fwy interchange at Wandong are not fully addressed in the EES. This Assessment considers this to be an omission in the EES’.
“These documents support residents’ claims that environmental effects statement did not properly address the impacts of the bypass on Wandong,” Ms Ryan said.
“Worse still, Minister Donnellan is ignoring the advice to redesign the interchange. He must immediately open an investigation to examine the feasibility of an interchange via Arkells Lane,” Ms Ryan said.
The documents reveal that VicRoads is not planning to undertake detailed design of the interchange until the Andrews Government provides funding for the project.
“It is apparent from the internal briefs that the Andrews Government is only planning minor works to mitigate the impacts of the interchange, despite the Planning Minister’s damning assessment.
“There is no discussion of investigating other options, only that VicRoads will plant screening trees, landscape the roadside embankments of the interchange and design the bridge to provide visibility from the roadway to the surrounding landscape,” Ms Ryan said.
The Liberals and Nationals provided $10 million in initial funding to undertake planning and preconstruction works including a roundabout on the corner of the Northern Hwy and the Kilmore-Broadford Rd but Labor has failed to allocate any further funding to the project.
“Given the government is yet to provide a cent for the bypass, it marked the project as complete in this year’s Budget and it hasn’t even put a public acquisition overlay in place, Labor clearly has no intention of providing the community with the certainty it needs anytime soon,” Ms Ryan said.
You can read the documents, including the Planning Minister’s assessment on the EES, here.