The Federal Government has granted emergency heritage protection to Melbourne's St Kilda Road, including its famous tree-lined boulevard and surrounding environment, by adding it to the National Heritage List.
The decision will provide interim protection to this important part of Melbourne for 12 months while the Australian Heritage Council conducts a formal assessment of the area.
If the Government concludes St Kilda Road and its surrounding environment should be given ongoing Commonwealth protection, then the Government will formally add it to the National Heritage List on a permanent basis.
The St Kilda Road precinct, with its nineteenth century boulevard, is an important part of Melbourne's heritage. It is associated with the Shrine of Remembrance, its ceremonial landscape and the design heritage associated with the Domain Parklands.
Melbourne’s Metro Project as currently configured would involve the destruction of more than 100 trees in this precinct and have a potentially significant impact upon its heritage values.
In 2015, the Victorian Government wrote to the Commonwealth seeking approval for the Melbourne Metro development.
A delegate for the then Minister for the Environment decided in September 2015, as this site was not National heritage listed, that it would not be a controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 allowing the project to proceed without the need for an approval.
The decision to give the area emergency heritage protection cannot revoke this decision.
However, in seeking to protect this historic area, the Federal Environment Minister, Josh Frydenberg has written to the Premier of Victoria asking him to reconsider the project design to lessen its impact upon the surrounding landscape, including the trees that give important character to the precinct.