The Suburban Rail Loop Act 2021 will commence on 1 December 2021.
The Suburban Rail Loop Act establishes the Suburban Rail Loop Authority and facilitates the planning and delivery of the Suburban Rail Loop program.
Importantly, the Suburban Rail Loop Act also amends the Major Transport Project Facilitation Act (MTPF Act), particularly the project delivery powers in that Act, for all major transport projects subject to the Act, including projects that have already commenced.
The amendments come at a time when the MTPF Act is used for a very significant number of transport projects, as part of Victoria's Big Build.
The amendments are the most significant amendments to the project delivery powers under the MTPF Act since the Act first commenced.
While many amendments are quite technical, they aim to resolve a number of legal and practical issues that have arisen in project delivery under that Act over the intervening years.
The amendments provide a range of new options for delivering and managing land for transport projects.
The Act introduces some additional powers and also aims to improve the operation of existing powers available for the delivery of transport projects. The amendments include:
- Easier designation of project areas, removing the need for survey plans and clarifying the preconditions to the designation
- New powers to deal with land by agreement, including a new power to acquire land by agreement before a project area is designated
- New and simpler processes for vesting land acquired for project purposes in the project authority, rather than the land becoming Crown land, and a broader power to grant Crown land to a project authority
- Changes enabling existing powers to be used to acquire easements, rather than taking all pre-existing interests in that same land
- Altered compensation entitlements for the acquisition of a stratum of underground land, such as for tunnels
- A range of new powers to temporarily occupy and use land for project purposes, to replace and expand upon those currently available under the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act (LAC Act)
- An easier to use set of powers in relation to roads, including clearer powers to carry out works on roads, to provide temporary roads and temporary road closures, and to permanently discontinue and realign roads
- Other miscellaneous and technical amendments.
Each of those amendments is summarised within this publication.
The Explanatory for the Act also provides very useful information about the purpose and operation of these amendments.
Reviewed 11 August 2022