The Department of Transport is currently initiating a project known as the Regional Rail Link. The project is a new rail line separating regional and metropolitan trains. In particular, it gives Geelong, Bendigo, and Ballarat trains their own tracks from Sunshine to Southern Cross Station. The Department has advised that it will oversee the building of up to 50 kilometres of new rail track.
During the construction process, some properties will need to be compulsorily acquired.
Please refer to our compulsory acquisition general advice.
By way of update, we have been advised by the Department that a project area designation request (a plan of the rail link) was submitted to the Minister for Planning on 7 September 2010, together with a referral under the Environment Effects Act 1978 (Vic). The Minister then has 20 business days to asses the referral. The Minister will then designate a project area setting out precisely which properties will be affected by the project, and to what extent. The Minister may also call for an Environmental Effects Statement to be submitted for assessment.
Whilst the assessment is being made by the Minister, no works will be commenced or continued, other than some preliminary works which may be conducted at Southern Cross Station.
At this stage, it is expected that the Notices of Intention to Acquire are due to be sent to landowners in late October, with Notices of Acquisition served in April 2011. Construction is expected to start later in 2011.
It is important you understand you rights and obligations during this process, and if you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact Andrew Blogg or Anton Dunhill of this office. We will endeavour to post further updates as to the progress of the project.