Title Planning: Macedon Ranges
Date 7 June 2006
7 June 2006 COUNCIL
1 Planning: Macedon Ranges
Ms HADDEN (Ballarat) -- My adjournment matter tonight is for the attention of the Minister for Planning in the other place. The matter relates to state significance and state planning protection of the magnificent Macedon Ranges. The Macedon Ranges have a unique combination of features and resources which are valued by people. They are of striking natural beauty, with potable water catchments, high-quality agricultural soils, ground water and recharge areas, heritage and history, high-quality landscapes and geological factors, headwaters of important river systems, state forests and parks, rare flora and fauna species and high quality native forests. There are major constraints for growth and development -- namely, fire, mountains, infrastructure and water shortages, natural hazards, catchment protection et cetera.
The Macedon Ranges are in urgent need of state policy protection because of their close proximity to Melbourne, which is generating intense pressure for suburban-style growth and development along the Calder Highway. The need to protect the state-significant features and resources of the Macedon Ranges was recognised in 1975 by the introduction of state planning policy 8.
SPP8 was an integrated policy which recognised and identified the Macedon Ranges as an area that is off limits to urban development and set out principles for limiting development and priorities for development compatible with conserving areas of state significance.
However, state planning policy 8 was lost when the Shire of Macedon Ranges was forced to adopt the so-called discretionary Victoria planning scheme in June 2000. In contrast, the Upper Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges retained their state significance planning protection. The shire of Macedon Ranges is now having to accept outer Melbourne suburbia being pushed onto it through its green wedges and into the rural ranges, yet Melbourne 2030 clearly states in appendix 1 that the Macedon Ranges are off limits to urban development.
The beauty of the Macedon Ranges has been described as a great opportunity for the speculator and land developer to make a fast buck to carve up this magnificent rural landscape for a quick profit. However, the Macedon Ranges must be safeguarded and protected as a high-quality area, a feature that was recognised by SPP8 in 1975. The action I seek from the minister is to urgently restore the state significance policy protection status for the Macedon Ranges before the local communities and magnificent rural land and ranges are lost forever.