LXRA – Public Consultation for Level Crossing Removals
The Level Crossing Removal Project is a $6 billion mega project which will remove 50 of the most dangerous and congested level crossings across Melbourne over eight years. Removing these level crossings will transform the way people live, work and travel across metropolitan Melbourne and improve safety for drivers and pedestrians. LXRA Public Consultation process proved to be a critical aspect of the project.
The Level Crossing Removals and Impacts Management
The Victorian Government allocated $2.4 billion in its 2015-16 budget to remove at least 20 level crossings by 2018. These sites form the basis of a long-term strategic plan being developed to remove all 50 level crossings by 2022.
The Level Crossing Removal Authority (LXRA) is overseeing the delivery of the project, ensuring that level crossings are removed in a coordinated and efficient manner. The authority is responsible for all aspects of the project including planning and development, stakeholder engagement, procurement, through to construction and delivery. LXRA is an Administrative Office established in relation to the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.
Several level crossings have already been removed with many more in construction, planning and early consultation.
With so many level crossings being removed over eight years, LXRA understands that there will be short-term construction impacts and inconveniences. These will include occupations of railway lines and road closures. LXRA is considering the best way to deliver the 50 removals – at the same time as making sure Melbourne keeps moving – in a strategic plan currently being developed. Other construction impacts, including noise and dust, are also anticipated.
Aside from removing 50 dangerous and congested level crossings across metropolitan Melbourne, the Level Crossing Removal Authority is also overseeing other rail projects. This includes Mernda Rail Extension Project, Hurstbridge Rail Line Upgrade, and a new train storage facility—the Kananook Train Storage Facility—in Seaford.
Public Consultation Program
Keeping communities informed about construction and consulted on potential local impacts is vital for the delivery of the level crossing removal project.
Multiple communication channels were established to provide the community with opportunities to be informed and involved in the project, including newsletters, advertising, signage, community information sessions, community forums and social media. Interested persons can sign up for email updates to stay involved, or connect with LXRA on social media to keep up to date in real time with what’s happening on the project.
Stakeholder Liaison Groups which comprised of local businesses, community groups and residents are being established for level crossing projects in construction. The groups meet regularly with project teams to provide local community and business feedback, and have an important role to share information within communities.
Effective Consultation Manager with Darzin
Darzin was implemented in 2015 to assist LXRA in managing the public consultation process for the level crossing removal project. Engagement through all communication channels have been tracked and managed in Darzin. The data includes, but not limited to:
- community workshops and meetings, information sessions, stakeholder forums and briefings, pop-ups at train stations and local shopping precincts, regular meetings with key stakeholders, project newsletter and presentations
- Feedback – surveys, project hotline number, key stakeholder meetings
- Online – online discussion forum, project web page
- Enquiries and complaints – project hotline number, and online feedback form.
Darzin provides a central stakeholder engagement management system that enables LXRA staff and the construction contractors to:
- Manage and record confidential discussions with a wide range of stakeholders
- Monitor emerging issues and trends
- Register and manage complaints, grievances, and enquiries
- Review consultation and engagement activities
- Record data consistently and maintain engagement and grievance management standards across all projects. This is a particular challenge given the large number of users from multiple contractor teams, multiple areas of work running concurrently and in a highly sensitive political environment.
- Report on issues, risks and performance.
The level crossing removal project involves eight packages of works that are managed by eight different construction contractors. Darzin consultation manager has been involved in supporting each contractor team to come on board through training for key users, data import, and providing advice on how to ensure consistency in data management across the teams. While the contractors track and report on engagement activities for their package of works, LXRA administrators can view interactions and grievances and report across all projects. LXRA Public Consultation allowed for transparency and accountability in the project.
Darzin team has also provided training for Salmat Contact Centre who manages the 1800 community hotline for the project that is available 24 hours, 7 days. All community enquiries are first received by Salmat staff and entered into Darzin with actions assigned to relevant personnel for tracking and reporting.