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Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP
9 May 2003
The Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today gave approval to construct the southern section of the proposed Scoresby Freeway, subject to conditions.
The 19 kilometres of freeway from Monash Freeway at Dandenong North to the Frankston Freeway at Seaford in Victoria, proposed by the Victorian Government, required assessment and approval due to the possible impact on surrounding wetlands and 25 species of migratory birds.
"The latest decision to approve construction was taken after a rigorous assessment process under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)," Dr Kemp said.
"The findings of recent proceedings in the Federal Court were also taken into account in making the approval decision.
"The Federal Court recently found referral documentation for the Scoresby Freeway was misleading in one respect because the Victorian Government failed to state there was a strong chance that a freeway link would be built in the future as a consequence of the construction of the Scoresby Freeway.
"The Court's findings were based on traffic assessment reports that have been available to me throughout the environmental assessment and approval process. I have been aware of the possibility of the future need for a freeway link and have considered concerns about this matter when making decisions about the Freeway.
"I have considered issues arising from the Federal Court judgment, and information from the Victorian Government and Dr Paul Mees in response to the Court's findings, in accordance with the requirements of the EPBC Act.
"The Victorian Government clearly stated there was no plan to build a freeway link at this time. If the Victorian Government does decide to build a freeway link that is likely to affect matters of national environmental significance, I would expect the proposal to be referred under the EPBC Act for a decision on whether environmental assessment and approval is required."
The southern section of the Scoresby Freeway is within 300 metres of the Edithvale-Seaford Wetland of international importance, which is a declared Ramsar wetland under the EPBC Act. It provides important habitat for listed migratory waterbird species which are also protected under the EPBC Act.
The wetland is a remnant of the once extensive Carrum Carrum swamp and the surrounding area has been extensively developed through urbanisation.
"The conditions imposed by my approval are to ensure impacts on the Edithvale-Seaford Wetland are managed - especially in relation to stormwater, noise, dust and light. The conditions require the Victorian Government to prepare and implement an environmental management plan to address these matters."
A copy of the approval and conditions can be viewed on the Environment Australia website at: http://www.ea.gov.au/epbc/publicnotices/index.html
Catherine Job 02 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400