Archive:  Loddon Mallee South Regional Growth Plan

Last Updated  16/6/13


See also Amendment C84

See also Woodend Structure Plan

See also Loddon Mallee South Regional Growth Strategy 2010


Wooo...  Crs. Sally Piper And Jennifer Anderson Go For it With Notices Of Motion For Tonight's Council Meeting At Gisborne

(21/5/13-RA-C)  But why do they even need to ask? 

Well, great to see the two "girls" on Council standing up for community interests (but where are the "boys"?).  These are highly significant notices of motion, asking for actions most people would consider should already have been taken.  That they appear not to have been That it appears it hasn't raises all sorts questions about Council administration and how Council is being run (and for whose benefit).   Check out the Notices Of Motion here.


You can access the agenda for tonight's council meeting here:



(21/5/13 - RA-P)  Make a submission - this Plan isn't the community's idea of where Macedon Ranges Shire should be in future.

The time for making submissions on the ghastly Loddon Mallee South Regional Growth Plan has been extended until 31 May. 


Loddon Mallee South Regional GROWTH Plan Is On Exhibition Until May 17

(23/4/13-RA-P)  Yes, Loddon Mallee South does include Macedon Ranges, but not a word of it being a special place to be protected 


The Loddon Mallee South Regional Growth Plan has its roots in the former Brumby Government.  It has evolved via the Blueprint for Regional Victoria and Loddon Mallee South Strategy Plan documents, neither of which were ever made public or able to be commented on by the community. 


While the Plan says it was "developed through a series of issues papers, regional workshops and analysis of information provided by all partners", the public apparently wasn't considered a "partner" in the Plan.  It is understood that the former Macedon Ranges Shire Mayor, Cr. McLaughlin, and current CEO had input on the Plan's content. 


This Regional Growth Plan is one of 8 in Victoria, which are supposed to work with the Metropolitan (Melbourne) Strategy that is currently being prepared.  However, there already seems to be conflict between the Metro Strategy Discussion Paper, and the Regional Growth Plan, relative to Macedon Ranges.  To date, neither are impressive documents.  Also notable is the lack of publicity around the availability of this Plan - odd, when no stone has been left unturned consulting over the Metropolitan Strategy.


Here's what the Department of Planning and Community Development says about the Loddon Mallee South Plan:


A draft Loddon Mallee South Regional Growth Plan has been developed and is now available for comment until Friday 17 May 2013.

The plan will help provide broad direction for land use and development across the region over the next 30 years. In particular it will:

Draft vision for the region to 2041


Our communities will continue to enjoy regional liveability with urban accessibility. We will be a region with vibrant, innovative, sustainable and connected communities offering a diversity of lifestyles, building on our heritage, natural environment and agricultural landscapes.


The region aspires to be home to some 300,000 * people by 2041, with access to employment, infrastructure, educational opportunities, health care and other services. The region will continue to attract new investment, a diverse range of jobs, anchored within a diversifying economy, capitalising on competitive advantages.


*  Note:  the current (2011) population of the region is 180,023 (Loddon Mallee South RGP, page 7).


macedon-ranges-in-loddon-mallee-southMacedon Ranges is the southernmost section of the Loddon Mallee South region


To find out more and get a copy of the plan, go to

Background documents are available from Regional Development Victoria's website


The Regional Growth Plan is on exhibition until 5.00pm 17 May.  The Department of Planning and Community Development has a feedback form, but it asks you to respond to specific questions and particular sections of the Plan.  You might want to make a submission addressing the issues you think are important instead.  DPCD website says you can make comments in the following ways:


Download and complete a feedback form:  Feedback Form (PDF - 1.1 MB)  Send it to us [DPCD] by



Fax: (03) 4433 8099

Mail: Hayden Williams, Senior Project Manager Department of Planning and Community Development, Level 1, 56-60 King Street, Bendigo  VIC  3550


It is essential that Macedon Ranges Shire residents comment on the Plan, as it will have a substantial influence over what happens in, and to, Macedon Ranges Shire.


MRRA Says:


Make no mistake, this Plan is first and foremost an economics and growth plan, which seems to view environment in terms of getting around constraints or using environment to enhance economic opportunities and growth.  The hand behind it appears to be Regional Development Victoria - which of course has a high and blinkered priority for economic development.


Page 19 gives insight into the Plan's priorities and its concept of "sustainability":  "Economic growth is intrinsically linked with population growth. Whilst some people choose to live in the region for liveability reasons, employment options and economic growth are critical for a sustainable future."


They cannot be serious!  This Plan is appalling.  How the hell does what's in this Plan relate to the State level "PROTECTION" the State government has promised for Macedon Ranges?  Wasn't there anyone involved in this Plan that knew anything about Macedon Ranges?  


THERE IS NO REFERENCE WHATSOEVER TO THE FACT THAT MACEDON RANGES HAS OPERATED UNDER A SPECIFIC PLANNING POLICY (I.E. STATEMENT OF PLANNING POLICY NO. 8) SINCE 1975.  Nor is there any reference to the protection promised by and recently announced by the State government.  Macedon Ranges in fact seems to seen as the 'arse-end' of the region, somewhere down south in the hinterland near Melbourne that can absorb a significant amount of the galloping growth the Plan promotes.
State level significance is downgraded to regional significance - MRRA also noticed that in the Minister's announcement of protection.
Someone didn't seem to know that Western Water, Southern Rural Water, Port Phillip Catchment Management Authority and Melbourne Water are relevant authorities in Macedon Ranges - they don't figure in discussion and apparently weren't consulted.
The Plan says "piggery, poultry, horse studs" around Mt. Macedon, Romsey, Riddells Creek and Macedon, with "Forestry - commercial timber production" at Macedon.  There no reference anywhere in Macedon Ranges to "orchards, groves, market gardens, vineyards".
Half the Shire is an "area where the equine industry is developing".
Kyneton is elevated to a "Regional Centre" despite the Macedon Ranges Settlement Strategy saying only Gisborne will grow that much (Kyneton is slated to become a lesser Large District Town).
Map 9 shows Mt. Macedon as a place where growth will be supported.  At the same time Mt. Macedon is identified (with Macedon and Woodend) as hinterland places where growth will be restricted.
Riddells Creek is newly assigned medium growth to 2041.
Romsey is called a "regional town" when it is to become a Large District Town.
The text says Romsey has bushfire considerations, but not Riddells Creek.
Water catchments 'will be protected' at the same time ways are being sought to put more development - and particularly small lot residential development - in drinking water catchments. 
Fire risk is a "challenge". 
Growth is to be directed to areas where it avoids high value environmental assets - if impacts are UNAVOIDABLE, they will be minimised.  Page 35.  Ditto fire, "where development is UNAVOIDABLE in fire and flood risk areas... "   Unavoidable?  Pestilence, flood and fire - even a sunny day - may be "unavoidable", but DEVELOPMENT?
Macedon Ranges Residents:  we have all been betrayed by those who have prepared this "secret" Plan, and by our own Council.   We weren't even considered worthy of being consulted on the strategies that underpin the Plan.
We now know where the rampant growth for most towns in the Settlement Strategy came from, and why it has been forced upon us - plans, strategies and policies we were never consulted about.  This Plan takes growth and development even further, with Macedon Ranges - an area with extreme bushfire risk and environmental sensitivity - apparently seen as the 'southern suburb' of the Loddon Mallee South region.  This is the Plan being implemented not only through the Settlement Strategy, but also Amendment C84.
Growth for Macedon Ranges is expressed as Victoria In Future figures (58,900 in 2031 - page 8), even higher than the adopted Macedon Ranges Settlement Strategy (55,920 in 2036 - Table 1). 
"The Loddon Mallee South region has experienced, and is expected to continue to experience, strong population and economic growth, although without intervention, this growth is unlikely to be evenly dispersed across the region."  Page 8  Not only is 'accelerated growth' evident and supported in the Plan, where places don't grow enough, there will be intervention to make them grow more. 
"The region aspires to a population of 300,000 [in the next 30 years]... This higher growth scenario is an aspiration expressed by regional stakeholders during the development of the Plan." (page 9).   Macedon Ranges Shire Council is a "regional stakeholder" that was involved in the development of this Plan.
"The region will experience strong population growth over the next 30 years.  Most of this growth is directed to the regional city of Bendigo, with strong growth also planned in Gisborne, Kyneton, Riddells Creek and Romsey, located in Macedon Ranges Shire."  Page 55
"There may be opportunities to attract private investment for appropriate tourism infrastructure on public land..."  Page 23  Goodbye Macedon Regional Park, Hanging Rock?


While Woodend residents may think that this Plan's identification of restricted growth for Woodend is desirable, that needs to be considered in that context that the Plan also identifies Macedon and Mt. Macedon for restricted growth, while also saying growth will be supported at Mt. Macedon, which will also be ringed by piggery, poultry and horse stud development, and forestry at Macedon.  With booming growth in towns north and south (more, apparently, than in the Settlement Strategy), it is difficult to see how Woodend would remain an island.  Look no further than how Council has already demolished the Woodend policy in Amendment C84;  and take note that Council has been unable to bring itself to use the NG words (no growth) for Macedon and Mt. Macedon in Amendment C84. 


In addition there is the 'all-over' approach to tourism and economic development in the Loddon Mallee South Regional Growth Plan, in the Metropolitan Strategy, and in draft State rural zones. While the Metropolitan Strategy Discussion Paper referred to 'green wedge policies that have applied since the 1970s, including areas beyond the fringe of Melbourne' - protection that is expected to continue - and also creation of a Green Belt, it did not explicitly identify Macedon Ranges as an area to be protected or part of a Green Belt. 


Before its election, the State government made the following promise to Macedon Ranges:


A Liberal Nationals Coalition Government will:


Establish localised planning statements for a number of key areas around Victoria.


These new Statements of Planning Policy will apply to:
The Mornington Peninsula;
The Yarra Valley;
The Macedon Ranges; and
The Bellarine Peninsula.


A Liberal Nationals Coalition Government reaffirms its support for the retention of Statement of Planning Policy number 8 that currently exists in the Macedon Ranges but which is being repeatedly undermined by the Labor Government.”


Population growth - and the type and extent of development proposed - directly conflicts with the requirements of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 - Macedon Ranges and Surrounds.  There also appears to be conflict between vague 'continued protection' offered in the Metro Strategy, and none offered in the Loddon Mallee South plan.


So far, we have the Macedon Ranges Settlement Strategy  saying one thing, Amendment C84 saying more, the Metro Strategy being very vague, and now this Plan treating Macedon Ranges as if it's inside the Urban Growth Boundary.  Confused?


What You Can Do


Make a submission to DPCD by 17 May, saying this is not the Plan we want in Macedon Ranges.


The Minister for Planning has to approve the Plan.  Write to or email the Minister Hon Matthew Guy


Say this Plan is not acceptable. It does not protect Macedon Ranges as the State government has promised; it in fact doesn't even recognise Macedon Ranges' sensitivity, and pre-empts the Localised Planning Statements announced by the Minister.


Request he not approve the Loddon Mallee South Plan, and instead implement the promised protection at the very earliest opportunity.


The Plan says at page 69: "Each Project Steering Group made up of local councils and state agencies will be asked to endorse their Regional Growth Plan".  Write to our Councillors, expressing an expectation that:


This new Council will actively oppose the Loddon Mallee South Regional Growth Plan as it is contrary to Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, the State government's promise of protection, and community expectations for a 'rural' future for Macedon Ranges Shire. 


This Council will actively lobby the Minister for Planning to have Macedon Ranges protected, and Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 retained, as promised.


At the moment, the Plan is the product of the previous Council.  This Council can change its direction.