The paper will describe the use of the Objective-based Evaluation Matrix (OBEM) approach for the evaluation of alternative options as recently used by VicRoads, including differences with the approaches used by independent Panels. The paper will also discuss a range of issues that arose during the implementation of the OBEM, some of which are still being worked through. It was found for example, that the use of the OBEM approach required changes to the assessment approach of specialist consultants providing input into the process. VicRoads manages the arterial road system in the State of Victoria, Australia. One of VicRoads tasks in managing the State's road system is to plan for the enhancement of the road network, including the construction of new road links or the enhancement of existing road links. The planning process seeks the required environmental and planning clearances to enable proposed road projects to proceed to the construction phase. The State of Victoria has a planning and environmental assessment system that provides a tiered decision-making structure in relation to the approval of projects, whether they are road projects or other developments. The most sensitive projects are assessed under the provisions of the State's Environment Effects Act 1978. Where additional land is required for a new road that has not previously been reserved for that purpose in the planning scheme, approval for a Planning Scheme Amendment is also required under the provisions of the Planning and Environment Act 1987. Road projects may also need to be assessed, and approved under the provisions of the Commonwealth's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. It is considered an important part of the functioning of our democratic society that people have a right to be consulted about decisions that affect them. Thus, the Environment Effects Statement (EES) process includes requirements for both informal and formal public consultation. The EES process enables consideration of a comprehensive range of economic, environmental and social factors. A key part of the formal public consultation and assessment process under the provisions of the Environment Effects Act is for there to be a hearing by an independent Panel appointed by the Victorian Minister for Planning. This Panel considers the Environment Effects Statement prepared by the project proponent and any submissions made by members of the public. The Panel provides a report to the Minister for Planning who then prepares an assessment report for final decision by the responsible policy minister. In the case of road projects, the responsible Minister is the Minister for Transport. In some cases, the Minister for Planning's report may also be considered by the Commonwealth Minister for Environment and Heritage. Following criticisms by independent Panels of VicRoads use of a "Planning Balance Sheet" approach to evaluate options, VicRoads adopted a modified version of the OBEM used by Panels in their evaluation.


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  • Accession Number: 00964316
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 087659229X
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: Oct 9 2003 12:00AM