Sustainable Macleod North East Link interview

Jan 6, 2022 | News, Transport

The North East Link (‘NEL’) will have a huge impact on the community of Macleod and surrounding communities. In December 2021 I interviewed Michelle Giovas about the NEL, including the current design and implications for local residents. Michelle is one of the Community Liaison Group members for the NEL.

In recent weeks the state government has announced that it will extend the tunnel beside Greensborough highway. This is in place of the trench, which is how the NEL will be built beyond that point to the end of the M80 ring road.

Michelle was keen to point out that the extension of the tunnel to the area just beyond Yallambie Road does not necessarily mean the remaining trees within the Simpson Army Barracks will be saved. Michelle is concerned that the majority of these trees, which include the endangered Studley Park Gum, will be lost.

‘I have grave fears that most of the Simpson Army Barracks trees will be removed,’ she said.

Michelle pointed out that the land will be required for ancillary equipment to do with the tunnel boring machine and tunnel construction. She is concerned that residents around the launch site (where the tunnel machine will start) have not been made fully aware of the impacts on them.

The current design means the tunnel entrance will be around the Lenola Street/Wattle Drive area. She points out this will have a much greater negative effect on Watsonia shopping area compared to extending the tunnel beyond the railway line.

There will be considerable disruption over the years of the build, with cement plant, grout plant, staff amenities, parking and so on. Michelle expressed her concern that the noise and air pollution created by the project is not going to be monitored by the Environment Protection Authority.

She is frustrated that many of the early works to relocate services are rendered unnecessary due to the change in design, particularly around Borlase Reserve and Lower Plenty Road.

In July 2019, I made a short submission on Sustainable Macleod’s behalf to the NEL Inquiry and Advisory committee. 

Lobbying to improve the NEL is continuing. If you have any concerns about the project you can ring the Big Build on 1800 105 105. You can also talk directly to Michelle, as your representative. You can email her at:

If you would like to be part of Sustainable Macleod’s response to the NEL, contact Paul –

Paul Gale-Baker