The North East link process has been continuing, and we’ve actively been taking part. The EES (Environmental Effects) hearings spent 8 weeks looking into the impacts of NE link: tree removal, loss of open space, the complete loss of the Bulleen industrial precinct and the knock-on effect on over 100 small businesses and 1,000 jobs, and the many traffic and technical issues. We’re all still positive about the future of BAAG, but after two and a half years we still don’t have certainty!
But we’ve certainly had a lot of support, with 150 of the 850 submissions supporting the continuation of BAAG – this support was certainly noticed, and thanks are due to all those who took the time to either put in a submission or sign the petition. We really appreciate it and think it will help. We made quite a lengthy submission arguing that BAAG was of community benefit and should be retained under conditions where it can still operate successfully, and have requested that our site be excluded from a construction compound. There are no detailed designs for the project to date, but in a reference design that gives approximate project boundaries, BAAG is included within a potential construction compound.
You can see our submissions here and here.
We have also been recognised by a number of witnesses and submitters, but have had no official information from NELP. The committee is now assessing the evidence raised and will report to the minister within a couple of months – some businesses will find out if they will be acquired early next year, but others, potentially including BAAG, may need to wait until around October 2020 when detailed designs are released. We are also working on a number of committees associated with NE link and are optimistic about our future, but need to wait for certainty.