The Metro Tunnel is a $10.9 billion mega project that will start the transformation of Melbourne’s rail network into an international-style metro system. It is a critical city-shaping project and the largest overhaul of Melbourne’s public transport network since construction of the City Loop.
Metro Tunnel alignment. Source: MMRA
The Melbourne Metro Rail Authority (MMRA) is the Victorian Government body responsible for delivery of the Metro Tunnel.
Challenges and Opportunities
The Metro Tunnel shares a number of similar challenges and opportunities with major international projects, particularly in the engineering, constructability and community relations spaces. MMRA is learning from other international tunnelling projects to ensure that world’s best practice is applied to the delivery of Melbourne’s newest rail tunnels.
One of the new stations, Parkville Station, is expected to provide access to around 45,000 jobs, 14,000 residents and more than 70,000 tertiary students and high school students within 800 metres of its location. Source: MMRA
The Metro Tunnel has been assessed through an Environment Effects Statement (EES) process, which is a well-tested, robust and transparent planning assessment process. The EES was approved in December 2016 and has resulted in a range of measures to address potential construction impacts. Works to prepare sites for construction commenced in late 2016, with work on the tunnels and stations due to start in 2018.
MMRA has been proactive in engaging with the community right from the start and throughout every stage of the project development. Various communication channels were used to support the formal phases of engagement. Some impressive consultation statistics for the EES engagement are below.
- 19 community drop-in sessions, over 1,500 attendees
- 180 meetings and 50 presentations
- 8,100 online engagement portal visits
- 2 newsletters to over 200,000 properties
- More than 1,200 enquiries received
Engagement activities during the planning phase. Source: MMRA
Darzin - Consultation Manager for the Mega Project
Darzin was implemented in late 2015 to assist MMRA in managing the stakeholder engagement process for the entire project from planning to delivery. Interactions through the various communication channels have been captured in Darzin and collated to provide a rich understanding of issues and trends. Feedback received during the planning phase has informed some major design changes such as the decision to move the location of Parkville Station to minimise impacts on key medical, educational and research institutions in close proximity to the project.
The project has now entered the construction phase and Darzin remains the central system for capturing stakeholder engagement for the project. MMRA and its nominated contractors use Darzin on regular basis to provide consistent data management and reporting across all user groups. Darzin also simplifies information sharing between MMRA and its contractors to ensure that the consultation effort is conducted efficiently.
We have been working closely with the MMRA Communications and Stakeholder Relations team to assist them in implementing Darzin to meet their growing needs. Recently we spoke with Dave Kristy, Manager, Communications and Stakeholder Relations and asked him to share his thoughts and experience on how the team has been managing their community consultation best practice through Darzin consultation manager.