Archive:   Landscape Assessment

Posted 12/11/18  Updated  18/3/19




NEW  Action Required  Council Calls For More Community Comment On Its "Protect Only The Most Obvious, Most Important" Landscape Assessment

(18/3/19 - C)  Er, good on Council for asking, but it would have helped if people knew about it, and whether any changes have been made to the original, 3-volume, abominable Assessment in response to last November's first round of comments.  MRRA is assuming there are no changes.  Submissions close 25 March.    Landscape Assessment File 


There's also a drop in session on 19th March.


MRRA Says:

Remember late last year, when the original draft Landscape Assessment went on exhibition?   No-one knows why it has come back again, but MRRA's message to Council remains the same:  bin it. 


The title of Council's website page on this issue nails the Assessment's failings:  "Management of significant landscapes".   That's it.  Not landscapes, only the most significant - touristy - ones.


Just the tops of a few hills, the bit in the middle around Mt. Macedon, and selected parts of some ranges in the east and north of the Shire.  Nothing else has any value and, because of this Assessment, VCAT will agree.  It's a disgrace.


Please make a submission by 25th March.   Here's a link to MRRA's submission in 2018, which has an executive summary before giving more detailed comments.


Macedon Ranges Draft Landscape Assessment Study On Exhibition (Submissions Close 18 November)

(12/11/18 - P)  There's some good in it (expanded Significant Landscape Overlays) but it makes the fatal mistake of saying delete Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 from Macedon Ranges planning scheme (reminiscent of the Brumby government's attempts to get rid of it), and doesn't do a damned thing for landscapes except the most significant ones.  Nice going - not.   MRRA won't be supporting it.

The draft Macedon Ranges Landscape Assessment, prepared by consultant Claire Scott, is currently on exhibition.  Some aspects are positive (it applies new Significant Landscape Overlays and policy to the most significant parts of the Shire), but the Association won't be supporting it,  for the following reasons:

As Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 (a) has underpinned strategic planning in Macedon Ranges for the past 45 years and (b) addresses other important issues as well – additional to landscape – its deletion is not a matter for a landscape assessment to recommend, and would leave a policy vacuum in the planning scheme. 

All other landscapes and views are not addressed, and no recommendations are made for their protection (including Jacksons Creek escarpment).  This leaves the "rest" open to the argument that they are not significant and therefore not to be protected.  Stop Press - this has just happened at VCAT (the area involved wasn't on the list, wasn't as important as Mt. Macedon, so go ahead).

It instead relies on the  draft Statement of Planning Policy (and the draft 2017 Localised Planning Statement put out by the State government last Christmas at that).   And of course, the draft Statement of Planning Policy that the State government wants us to accept only requires protection of State significant landscapes.  On the other hand, Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 recognises all of the area as a place of natural beauty and special significance.

The Order identified “Threats to NATURAL landscapes and landforms…” across the entire declared area (the Shire), but the need to protect these isn’t recognised in the Assessment. 


The Assessment did not come before Council for endorsement prior to exhibition.  



  1. Recommendation to delete Statement Of Planning Policy No. 8 (Clause 22.01), and
  2. Failure to address and protect the Shire’s overall landscape values, as Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 does, and
  3. Failure to recognise and address both the natural landscape values and threats to them identified in the Order making Macedon Ranges a “declared area” under the Distinctive Areas and Landscapes legislation.

For more information from Council’s website:


MRRA Says:


 This unsubtle attempt to get rid of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 - and in a Landscape Assessment Study - is not on.  The draft Statement of Planning Policy (aka Localised Planning Statement) is another example where SPP8 is being tossed out by a government that promised to base legislative protection on it. 


So here we go again.  A State government trying to get rid of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, just as the Brumby government tried in 2008..  That move backfired when MRRA's petition to keep Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 attracted 3,000 signatures (and by a change of government).  


Also iffy is that the Assessment relies on current planning scheme Environmental Significance overlays for environmental values (one ESO is applied to a piggery); current heritage overlays and Victorian Heritage Register listings for heritage values (hells bells, we all know most of those are still missing!), and to top it off, information from Tourism Victoria and Tourism Australia to sort out social and economic values.  If all of this is protection, we'd hate to see no protection!