Archive:   Localised Planning Statement / State Level Protection 2014

Last Updated   6/2/15



September 24, 2014:   Macedon Ranges Council Adopts Localised Planning Statement That Leaves Macedon Ranges With Less, Not More, Protection.  If Approved By Minister, That's A Broken Promise

September 2014  Macedon Ranges Council poised to kill off Statement of Planning Policy No. 8  Council meeting on 24 September, Kyneton Town Hall, 7.00pm

July 2014   What protection?  Council's Localised Planning Statement [LPS] breaks State government promise to retain Statement of Planning Policy No. 8.  This LPS gives Macedon Ranges less, not more, protection than Macedon Ranges has now.

May 2014  Minister for Planning again assures MRRA that Macedon Ranges will be protected at State level (during Hanging Rock visit 16/5/14).


See also

Macedon Ranges Needs You

Say NO To Suburbia Main Page


Minister for Planning Says State Government Will Not Protect Macedon Ranges Before The State Election, and Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 Is Out-Of-Date, Old-Fashioned

(30/10/14 - SP)   MRRA:  If the government now thinks SPP8 - the policy it promised to retain - is so out-of-date, so old-fashioned, it's the fault of the government which has had 4 years to fix it, and honour its election promise to put it in place as State policy.   Red Alerts   Say No To Suburbia Noticeboard


When elected in 2010, the State government promised to protect Macedon Ranges by reconfirming the 40 year policy - Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, Macedon Ranges and Surrounds - as State planning policy.  Before, and many times since that election, the Minister for Planning has repeatedly publicly stated the government would deliver its promise and protect Macedon Ranges.


Last Tuesday (28/10/14), on ABC Radio 774 (Jon Faine show), the Minister for Planning revealed the State government will not keep its promise to protect Macedon Ranges with State policy unless it is re-elected at the State election, now four weeks away.


 Listen to the Minister's response to a caller's questions by clicking on the link (starts at 21.57 minutes into the discussion) (right click and open in new tab)


The Minister additionally said (mirroring Macedon Ranges Council's argument) that Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 - Macedon Ranges and Surrounds (introduced by the the Hamer government in 1975) is out-of-date and old-fashioned.  He said references obsolete planning schemes and policies, and it needs to be 'contemporised' - it couldn't be used in its current form as State policy.


Although Macedon Ranges Shire Council has produced a draft Localised Planning Statement which is not Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, and introduces different policy settings for the Shire, the Minister said Council had produced a document which fulfilled the government’s commitment.  He attributed the delay in introducing State policy to an “on-going blue” between the local community (i.e. MRRA) and Council, and pledged the State government would act as mediator in the next round of consultation, if re-elected, ensuring neither party took the lead.


When challenged that failure to deliver State policy and Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 is a broken promise, he told the caller “you need to have a conversation with your Council instead of blaming others for your own fights”.


MRRA Says:


At this late stage, for a government that vowed it would protect Macedon Ranges with Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 as State policy, to now say that policy isn’t right, and blame the community for the government’s failure to deliver, is a cowardly act, and deplorable. 


The government has had four (4) years to get this right.  Before the 2010 election, the government didn't say it would protect Macedon Ranges if re-elected for a second term.  It didn't have issues with Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 when it promised to reinstate it as State policy, and only identifies these now, four weeks from the next election.


To anyone who has attended recent Council meetings, discussion of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 in terms of "old" and "old-fashioned" will sound familiar, as will the need to "contemporise" its language.  Modern policy uses "encourage" and "limit" but Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 is strong policy that says what it means using old-fashioned "shall" and "must" language.  This policy, which fits on 2 double-sided A4 pages, has safeguarded Macedon Ranges for 40 years.  It's the policy we were promised as State policy and, with such endorsement, can stand alone without reliance on other documents.


The Minister says Council's Localised Planning Statement delivers the government's commitment.  But it doesn't. It only "retains" about half of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8's policy, and then only applies that to an area not much more than a quarter of the existing Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 policy area, leaving Woodend, Gisborne, Riddells Creek, Romsey and Lancefield unprotected.  SPP8 protects these towns and other areas, Council's LPS doesn't.


It is quite wrong for the government to shift responsibility for its failure to provide the protection it promised to a "blue" between Macedon Ranges Council and a single community group.  Doing so fails to recognise that protecting Macedon Ranges and keeping it a rural Shire is a whole-of-community concern.  It also overlooks the 3,000 signature petition calling for Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 to be reinstated as State policy handed to the (now) Minister in 2010; the recent 6,000 signature petition calling for Hanging Rock to be protected; and the +80% of 1,100 respondents to a recent survey who said the most important issue is protecting Macedon Ranges' environment and rural character.  Any "blue" in this case should have been between a State government committed to Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, and a Council committed to getting rid of it.  The State government instead appears to be favouring Council's position over the community's position.


Since Council adopted its deficient Localised Planning Statement on September 24, MRRA has made numerous requests to the Minister and local politicians for meetings and information about where the government stood on protection, the most recent on 27/10/14 to the Minister for Planning; Donna Petrovich (Liberal candidate for Macedon); and Amanda Millar, Wendy Lovell and Damian Drum (Liberal Upper House representatives for Northern Victoria Region).  


 From 24 September, Amanda Millar alone responded to MRRA but the information we sought was finally obtained, not by responses to our requests, but from ABC's radio call-in discussion.  Two emails to Donna Petrovich requesting a meeting with her went unanswered.  In contrast, Mary Anne Thomas (Labor candidate for Macedon) recently met with MRRA.


By breaking its promise, the government has failed the Macedon Ranges’ and Victorian community, and opened the door for an already out-of-control Macedon Ranges Council to approve all manner of new development that permanently damages Macedon Ranges’ environment and landscape.  Council’s confidence in having such endorsement is already evident in its latest proposal to carve up the south of this Shire into 4ha and 2ha lots and, without the State policy protection the government pledged, it won’t stop there.


Macedon Ranges Needs You!

(14/10/14 - SNTS)  Macedon Ranges Council hijacks Localised Planning Statement, and State level planning policy protection.  File

Tell politicians and candidates the Localised Planning Statement must be Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, as promised.


Council Puts Another Nail In Macedon Ranges' Coffin:  Its Rampant Rural Living Strategy Will Destroy Significant Landscapes, Clobber Gisborne

(25/10/14 - P)  Council quietly takes the next step in its economic development / equine / growth agenda:  a sea of houses instead of sweeping rural views to Mount Macedon as you enter the Shire from Melbourne. This couldn't happen if we had Statement of Planning Policy No 8 as State policy.    Rural Living File   Red Alerts

At the 22/10/14 Council meeting, Council didn't even bother to debate its new draft Rural Living Strategy (aka the "In The Rural Living Zone" project); it just added it to another 10 agenda items and dealt with them all together under one of its infamous en bloc motions, where multiple agenda items are moved forward, without debate, in a lump.


The 'Strategy' is more a cunning plan to push even more growth and development into the Shire, and is driven in great part by Council's questionable Equine Strategy (the Amendment C84 panel did not support its implementation).  The Strategy's aims include maintaining a 30 year supply of Rural Living 'hobby farm' blocks in the Shire, additional to residential land supply in towns (even State policy only requires a 15 year total land supply for the Shire).  It's reducing minimum lot sizes in existing Rural Living Zone from 40ha and 8 ha to 4ha and 2ha - from the Shire's southern boundary with metro Melbourne, up to Gisborne, New Gisborne, and almost across to Riddells Creek, and also removing long-standing legal agreements to not allow further subdivision of some previously subdivided land.  Commercial development in the Rural Living zone, including accommodation uses, is also supported. 


It won't matter that this land includes landscape features of State significance and the Jacksons Creek escarpment, as well as the sweeping rural views that historically have announced Macedon Ranges.  It clearly doesn't matter that this rural buffer with Melbourne is the holy grail of planning which Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 has said for 40 years must be preserved and protected.  That Council instead intends to turn this rural buffer into a housing estate, each lot no doubt with room for a pony, is further evidence of why Council refuses to include Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 in its Localised Planning Statement. 


Gisborne will bear the impacts of all this development and population growth (additional to the growth Council has already locked in for the town itself), with new residents turning to Gisborne as their town base, straining already-stretched services and infrastructure, and adding to the chaotic traffic flow and car parking shortages that are already a bane in the town.


MRRA Says:


In 2008 a previous Macedon Ranges Council produced a Rural Living Strategy that was adopted for exhibition by Council in September 2008, but never exhibited.  You could hardly find two Rural Living Strategies that were more chalk and cheese.


Be afraid, because unless the State government makes Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 State policy, Council's fire-sale agenda - when too much growth and development isn't enough, make some more - won't stop at this.  The next steps in this Rural Living Strategy contemplate rezoning Farming and Rural Conservation zoned land to make even more small hobby blocks.  On-going approval of houses in Farming and Rural Conservation zones looks set to continue as well.  Council's latest fad is overturning planning officer recommendations to refuse new dwellings in the Farming zone (has done so at the past 2 Council meetings).  Why?  Because these new dwellings are ancillary to EQUINE uses.  Got a pony - want a a house with that?


Council (not a consultant) produced the Strategy, and from the text apparently with hefty input from real estate agents about market demand, as well as Council's Equine Strategy's development wish-list.  The Strategy's launch also explains why residents were asked that totally unrelated question, in the Localised Planning Statement survey last July, about how important are houses in rural areas.  Responses will no doubt be used to justify this Strategy's radical departure from the principles of proper and orderly planning, and from Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 which 40 years ago identified the type of development the Strategy proposes as the biggest single threat to the the Macedon Ranges and Surrounds' landscapes.  The other question is, will tourists still want to come?


The Strategy's changes - and their  location - also confirm that some people knew in advance (or guessed extremely well) that these changes were on the way.  From 2010 MRRA has received reports of real estate agents knocking on doors, offering to buy up land, in the areas the Strategy proposes to carve up.  Insider trading?   If only we had NSW's Independent Commission Against Corruption [ICAC] in Victoria...


The Strategy wasn't on Council's website yesterday, but you can find a draft with the 22/10/14 Council meeting agenda (the attachment to Item PE6).



The Good "People Of The Town Of No" Set The Record Straight

(6/10/14 - P)   Residents know it should be the Town of KNOW, not NO, you know...   C89  Council Performances  Red Alerts


At the September 24 Council meeting, Cr. Letchford called members of the Macedon Ranges' community "the people from the Town of No".  Why?  Because those people (i.e. most of the submissions to the exhibited Localised Planning Statement, and MRRA) did not support Council's damaging LPS and instead wanted Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 to be retained, au contraire to the Councillor's pro-LPS stance.  That and other nasties at the Council meeting have attracted some seriously uncomplimentary observations about the Councillor and the Council as a whole.  However, there are some who insist the Councillor's slur on the community has been misinterpreted, and what he actually said was "the people from the Town of KNOW", as follows:


"I thought there was a reference at Council to the good citizens of the town of KNOW – the people who know:

MRRA Says:


It's the knowing, and what you know, that makes all the difference.


Donald Rumsfeld (former United States Secretary of Defense - Bush administration), when once asked about the lack of evidence linking the government of Iraq with the supply of weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups, responded:

"As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know." 

The known knowns in Macedon Ranges Shire are that the people know what's going on at Council. 

The known unknowns include not knowing what and/or who motivates Council to behave in the rock-bottom way it does.  

The unknown unknowns - while unknown - could be anticipated to be just as bad as those known knowns and known unknowns we already know. 

Council may think it knows (who knows?), but when it comes to knowing what counts to the community, the community knows Council doesn't know.   Y'know?


Macedon Ranges' Last Defence Against Over-development Removed As Council Adopts Its Damaging Localised Planning Statement

(1/10/14 - P)   Outcome predictable, but Cr. Letchford 's derision of opposite community views went way past unacceptable   Red Alerts  Council Performances

At last Wednesday's (24/9/14) Council meeting, Councillors Letchford, Jukes, Connor, Mowatt, Hackett, Piper, and McLaughlin voted to adopt Council's substandard and damaging Localised Planning Statement.  Cr. Anderson opposed. Councillors Letchford moved, Jukes seconded.  Cr. Morabito was absent. 


 Cr. Letchford proved a vociferous proponent of the deficient and damaging LPS, and did most of the talking.  His opening and closing speeches constituted the majority of the debate and included him saying he felt privileged to be part of the LPS document; it was out-of-the-box thinking and better than Mornington Peninsula's LPS;  it represented higher level thinking, and its adoption was a quintessential moment. 


In relation to most community submissions on the exhibited LPS calling for Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 to be reinstated, Cr. Letchford attempted to quote Einstein, "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds", adding some [supporting SPP8] are so out of touch they think there is only one way to go;  that those opposing and making melodramatic statements (shock and awe) just don't get it; and those still wanting SPP8 were "people from the Town of No".   See also the Amendment C89 report.


In relation to Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, Cr. Letchford said when it was introduced people didn't want it;  things had moved on from there - when SPP8 was introduced there were no mobile phones, a Valiant Charger won Bathurst [MRRA note: the Brock/Samson LH Torana actually won in 1975]; and Sunbury and Melton are no longer satellite towns.  This LPS covers two areas not just one, and it delivers the State government's promise. 


Cr. Anderson said while an improvement over the original, the LPS was not in keeping with community views.  She added that the Mornington Peninsula LPS, not available when Macedon Ranges exhibited its LPS, had now been adopted by the Minister for Planning and contained the type of prescriptive language and policy Macedon Ranges' officers had said could not be included in Macedon Ranges' LPS.  The LPS had not been subject to dynamic, interactive consultation, needs more workshopping, and doesn't reflect what the community wants, she said. 


Cr. Mowatt said it would cost Council hundreds of thousands to retrofit Statement of Planning Policy No 8 into the planning scheme if is retained.  The LPS, plus existing planning scheme controls, was an improvement on SPP8 because there were no planning controls when it was introduced.


Cr.Jukes reminded councillors that the Minister had extended time but wanted the adopted LPS by the end of the week (Friday).


MRRA Says:


Over to you, Minister Guy. 


There are similarities to the Hanging Rock controversy here. 


Council's defiant position (and spin), and Cr. Letchford's highly inappropriate attack on and dismissal of community puts the government (and for that matter, the State opposition) in a difficult place.  The risk is that support for Council's LPS will be seen firstly as favouring a detested Council over community; secondly, as support for Cr. Letchford's position (which is remarkably similar to former Mayor Noel Harvey's and former Planning Minister Justin Madden's 2008 position); and thirdly, the government not delivering the protection it promised - i.e. an LPS as State policy, retaining Statement of Planning Policy No 8.  The government's 2010 promise did not include changing or deleting Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, shrinking its policy area or excising towns and rural land from its policy area, as Council's LPS does. 


A promise is a promise, and anything less or other than SPP8 applied in full to all of its existing policy area, as State policy, is a broken promise.


The minimum, urgent requirement is SPP8 applied to its policy area.  The preferred outcome is replacement of Council's real estate/tourism brochure cum investment prospectus parading as "protective" policy with SPP8, applied to the entire Shire.


With regard to claimed costs of 'retrofitting' SPP8 into the planning scheme: Statement of Planning Policy No 8 is included in and is the basis for the Shire's existing planning scheme (and planning schemes before it).  Consequently, having SPP8 as State policy in the Localised Planning Statement would not incur any additional costs with the existing planning scheme.  The 'planning scheme' Councillor Mowatt refers to is Amendment C84.  Council's admission that SPP8 would need to be 'retrofitted' into Amendment C84 confirms that Amendment C84 is not a policy-neutral translation of the existing scheme, as Council has always claimed.  Further, as adopted by Council, Amendment C84 removes the "existing planning controls" Cr. Mowatt relies upon.


Put This In Your Diary:  Council To Adopt Its Localised Planning Statement (Town Hall, Kyneton, Wednesday 24 September, 7.00pm)

(23/9/14 - SP)  Don't miss the 'brothers' dodging, spinning and pontificating as they sell the Macedon Ranges, their surrounds and what you value, down the river   Red Alerts

Tomorrow night's Council meeting will be a defining moment in the history of Macedon Ranges.  Our <quote> democratically-elected community representatives <unquote> will decide whether to adopt Council's rehash of the recently exhibited Localised Planning Statement - the one that gets rid of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 in favour of promoting pet projects, motherhood statements and damaging development.   


A revised draft LPS available from Council's website, (meetings > agendas > 24 September > item PE4 attachment 1 of 5), seems to now propose TWO policy areas.  It shrinks the existing Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 - Macedon Ranges and Surrounds policy area to about a third or less of the size it has been for the past 40 years (i.e. Council's new area includes Newham to Macedon only).  It also (inanely) renames this wee scrap of land "The Range and The Rock" policy area but confusingly also calls it the Macedon Ranges and Surrounds area, and the Rock and the Ranges area).  Ominously, unlike SPP8, Council's Range and Rock policy area excludes the main towns of Woodend, Gisborne, Riddells Creek, Romsey and Lancefield (i.e. towns and vast rural areas are no longer the 'surrounds' in Macedon Ranges and Surrounds).  That's NOT Statement of Planning Policy No. 8. 


The rewritten LPS nods to public pressure by adding some text selections at the Range and Rock segment which, once upon a time, may have had some relationship to SPP8 policy, but is now something else.  Council's determination to not include the real SPP8, or maintain SPP8's "must" and "not" requirements, severely weakens existing policy.  For example, SPP8's "There shall be no further subdivision [at Mt. Macedon and Macedon]..." is translated, firstly, as "Limit subdivision...", then "Avoid subdivision...", and we all know how well (not) Council does "avoid".   That's NOT SPP8 policy, nor is using "priortise" when SPP8 says "shall be the primary concern".


Another major change is that the rest of Council's LPS - that is, Council's growth, economic development and equine/horses agenda - is now to be applied to the whole Shire, including the main towns (above) deleted from the SPP8 policy area. Council may think that's two policies for the price of one, but neither are acceptable.


There are also TWO unexplained LPS "Framework" plans that don't contain the same information.   One says the shrunken SPP8 (Range/Rock) policy area is the "Special Policy area", the other calls it "The Range and The Rock".  One plan has non-urban breaks around the southern and eastern boundaries, the other doesn't.  Tylden and Darraweit Guim are missing from both, water supply reservoirs are called "lakes", native vegetation extent is shown as a few pale clumps and - wait for it - in a policy which is claimed to be about protecting the environment, the largest feature is the Calder transport corridor. 


Unlike SPP8's clear, prescriptive policy statements, Council's LPS is a swirl of confusing if not incompatible utterances. The document doesn't seem to know what it's doing, and it's far from clear what is supposed to apply where.  The version up for adoption includes tracked changes, not helped by text running off page 5.


The officer's report says "Most of the submissions request that SPP8 be reinstated as the preferred form of the adopted LPS".  However, it then goes on to say retention of SPP8 in the LPS has not been the direction provided by the State government, which if true, raises a new set of obvious concerns:

"Many of them [submissions] also state that Council should comply with the Minister for Planning’s pre-election commitment that SPP8 would be put into State policy. However, this has not been the direction communicated to Council from the State Government over the life of the project.   The extensive communications and consultation program provided by Council to the community and stakeholders around the intention of the project to provide a refreshed and modern statement has been very clear."  24/9/14 meeting agenda, page 51

N.B. There are those who would dispute Council's coupling of the adjective "extensive" with "consultation".


What:  Ordinary Council Meeting

Where:  Kyneton Town Hall, Mollison Street

When:  Wednesday 24th September, 7.00pm 

Why:  Because you owe it to yourself to witness which Councillors do or don't support SPP8 and protecting Macedon Ranges.  BE THERE.


Note:  Other controversial items on the meeting agenda include Council's refusal to support State heritage protection for the east paddock at Hanging Rock (item PE3); Amendment C90 (the abandoned - not abandoned - but now recommended to be abandoned again amendment - item PE6), and Amendment C89 (item PE5) where Council is proposing a process that doesn't appear to be available in the Planning and Environment Act.  The CEO's Review (item CX1) is there too, but it's confidential.


MRRA Says:


This embarrassing LPS as State policy?  SPP8 policy area replaced with the shrivelled, nonsensically-named "Range and Rock" policy area?  The garbled 'policy'?  The not-self-explanatory, duplicated Framework plans?   You can't be serious - 'tis all surely a joke???  This LPS confirms again that Council does pretty much everything badly.


Has anyone seen Mornington Peninsula's LPS?  Holy Cow, it's actually an elegant and professionally-written Statement of Planning Policy, not an agenda-driven de facto local policy that (as someone pointed out) reads like an investment portfolio.  Mornington manages to retain prescriptive language; Council's LPS deletes it (our money is on that not being an accident).  


Most LPS submissions wanted Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 retained / reinstated. Council says no (and says the State government agrees).  MRRA has asked the State government if Council's comment is accurate.


After the Council's appalling behaviour with Hanging Rock, Amendment C84, Vision 2025, Lancefield Community House, Riddells Creek supermarket, Villawood, Kyneton Mineral Springs RV poo-pit, public open space sales, and Daly Nature Reserve, etc. etc., we all know how it works in Macedon Ranges. An agenda is an agenda. Council has a whopper, and as we've all seen, promoting that agenda beats anything that works in the interests of community and environment.


Council has been, over time, quietly and methodically attempting to strip impediments to the type of (over) development some favour from this Shire's planning scheme. The final objective - the jewel in the crown - is to get an LPS (as State policy) that promotes Council's damaging development aspirations, and gets rid of SPP8.  SPP8 is the "last man standing", the final impediment to Council's pet projects revving into freefall.


The betting is that most of this Council won't be able to help itself, and the numbers will be there to adopt this embarrassment.  We will even hazard a guess at who will be leading the charge. Let's see... 


Cr. John Letchford has speared out convoluted emails running on about Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 being a 40 year old document and those supporting it wanting to look backwards (a comment which left MRRA wondering where Cr. Letchford's gaze is focussed).  Illogically, he claims keeping SPP8 in the planning scheme as local policy at existing Clause 22.01 (the Macedon Ranges and Surrounds policy) is a winner, apparently oblivious to 22.01 being mooted for future deletion, and the fact that Council is already proposing to amend it through the Macedon/Mt. Macedon Village Centre Studies).  22.01 was there when MRRA and the community asked for more protection.  D'oh.  By the way John, for completeness, it's the Macedon Massif, not the Macedon Massive.  


What about the Mayor, Cr. Roger Jukes?  Predictably a strong supporter of all things economic development, the almost dozen references to equine or horses, and other economic development priorities, in Council's LPS should be music to his heart.  Apparently he too subscribes to SPP8 being too old. 


What a coincidence!  In 2008 former Macedon Ranges Mayor Noel Harvey (and supporter of Council's Hanging Rock development), and former (Brumby govt) Planning Minister, Justin Madden, likewise said SPP8 was a (then) 30 year old document, past its use-by date.  The only option was to get rid of it.  MRRA Extract  Guy media release  Harvey media release  Hansard (Madden)  Hansard (Guy)


In what appears to be a 'snap' situation, Crs. Jukes and Letchford seem to be parroting the Harvey/Madden script.  That attempt to get rid of SPP8 spurred MRRA's 3,000 signature petition calling for SPP8 to be elevated to State policy.  Do we have to produce another petition before decision-makers 'get it' that the people want Macedon Ranges protected by SPP8?  


Strikes us it's more than past time to start asking pointy questions: 


To Council - who is driving Council's agenda?

To State government and Opposition - when will the people of Victoria be given additional powers to reclaim their democracy when a Council acts like a cartel?

To State investigation agencies - how bad does it need to get before Macedon Ranges Council and administration is investigated?

To the Liberal/National Party - what are you going to do to deliver the State (LPS) Policy and Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 protection promised 4 years ago? 

To the Labor Party -  Is the Madden/Harvey objective of getting rid of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 Labor policy for Macedon Ranges?



MRRA Calls For Community To Reject Council's Localised Planning Statement: It's Not Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, And It's Not The Protection The State government Promised Us

(13/7/14 - P)  Get to Council's "information session" on Monday July 14, 6.30 pm, Gisborne Council Chambers and inform Council you don't support this Localised Planning Statement... Council Performances

Red Alerts


The Scenario: 

Council's draft Localised Planning Statement condemns Macedon Ranges to far less 'protection' than it has now - less than it had when we asked for more!  It must be rejected.  Macedon Ranges needs State policy that says protect this place, not develop it.    MRRA Letter to Editor, local newspapers, July 2014   Bellarine Peninsula is also exhibiting a draft LPS, and even though Bellarine Peninsula doesn't already have a Statement of Planning Policy as Macedon Ranges does, its draft LPS seems more sincere if not protective than Macedon Ranges' LPS.  Comparing Bellarine and Macedon Ranges, it also becomes clear that there is an LPS template, and restrictions on language that can be used, which doesn't necessarily allow what needs to be said, to be said.  


What You Can Do

Government's 2010 policy for protection 

Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 - Policy

MRSC draft Localised Planning Statement

Bellarine Peninsula draft LPS


MRRA Says:


People of Macedon Ranges, you are being shafted in all of this.  Don't let it happen.  This Macedon Ranges Council would like nothing better than to get rid of the "impediment" of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, and this LPS is doing it.  Do everything you can to stop that from happening.  Without SPP8, Macedon Ranges as we know it will cease to exist.




(1/6/14 - P)  C'mon, guys, we can do better than the 200 responses Council says it has.    New Direct Link to survey:  Take the survey now →       Red Alerts    

Macedon Ranges Council has extended the closing date for its "What You Value About Macedon Ranges" Survey to 6 June, allowing another week for responses.  Council says it has some 200 survey responses.


MRRA Says:


The Localised Planning Statement will be the future policy for Macedon Ranges.  Make sure you have your say in what that future will be.  Tell Council you value what's here and want our environment, landscapes, rural areas, character and towns protected.   YOU TELL 'EM!


Footnote:  There was a scare last week when someone at Council told someone from MRRA that unless survey respondents filled in their name and particulars at the end, their survey response wouldn't be counted.  Ghastly thought.  Council's Communications Unit has since given an assurance that "ALL results are collected even if you do not wish to leave your personal details."   Hmm... hope that's correct.


Registering your survey response is confusing, because the "submit" button is below the personal details section.  Click on that thinking you are submitting your (anonymous) response, you are told you must fill in your details.  Another button, at the top right hand corner, says "exit this survey".  


Our attempts to check links today using the link from council's website (27 May media release) and a link from a Council email notification of the extended time initially resulted in messages that the survey had closed on 30 May and, oddly, on 6 June.  Gremlins.  Seems to work OK now, but if you have any problems, get onto Council immediately.


DO WE HAVE YOUR FULL ATTENTION?   Complete Council's Survey "What Do You Value About Macedon Ranges" By May 30

(22/5/14 - C, P)   If you care about protecting the Macedon Ranges from suburbia and over development, and about passing these landscapes and this environment on to your grandchildren, this is probably the most important survey you will participate in...


Macedon Ranges Shire Council has a survey ["Community Views - New Planning Statement for the Macedon Ranges"] on its website, which is supposed to be asking residents and visitors what they value about Macedon Ranges.  The survey closes on 30 May. 


Click to go to the New Localised Planning Statement page - the link to the survey is at the bottom of the page.


A 'drop in' session will be held on Thursday 22 May, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm  at the Gisborne Council Chamber, 40 Robertson Street, Gisborne, which any residents can attend. 


MRRA Says:

The "new" planning statement Council refers to is a "Localised Planning Statement" [LPS] which is a product of the State government's promise to protect Macedon Ranges, and to retain Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 - Macedon Ranges and Surrounds 1975  [SPP8]. 


To produce SPP8, the then Victorian (Hamer) government undertook a comprehensive strategic assessment of Macedon Ranges' values, and what threatens those values.  The result was a policy, SPP8, which says that in order to conserve those values, protecting and preserving environment / landscapes / amenity / character must be the first concern in all decisions in Macedon Ranges, and the local community must be consulted. 


Originally State policy, SPP8 was later downgraded to local policy (Clause 22.01 in the Macedon Ranges Planning Scheme), where it has proven to be WAY too easy to ignore (e.g. think development at Hanging Rock; Villawood in Woodend; Early Years Hub at Daly Nature Reserve; and Riddells Creek supermarket, as well as those awful suburban unit and subdivision developments that just keep coming).  


Some (including former Macedon Ranges Mayor Noel Harvey) have previously said SPP8 isn't relevant any more, and Macedon Ranges has enough protection. 




Unlike Yarra Ranges and Mornington Peninsula Shires, which are recognised in legislation and have State provisions as well as Statements of Planning Policy, SPP8 is all the 'protection' Macedon Ranges has.  Making it State policy again will make it less able to be ignored.


Warning:  As we said in our recent letter to the editor, MRRA is troubled about some of Council's survey questions (rural housing, rural employment and visitor/tourism facilities), issues that have more to do with Council's pro-development and rampant economic development agenda than with the values of Macedon Ranges.  


Fill in the survey, and go to the 'drop-in' tomorrow night.  As State policy, the LPS has to be right!  Tell them if it's not Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, it's not protection. 


Think carefully, because this is your last opportunity to say NO to suburbia in Macedon Ranges. 





Posted 9/10/13, updated 25/3/14


October 2013: Still waiting for State level policy protection for Macedon Ranges. 

22/10/13:  Plan Melbourne - State govt's new strategy says Gisborne is a peri-urban growth town = NOT protection

Macedon Ranges Council gets to "review" Statement of Planning Policy No. 8.  Well, that's the end of that policy, then.



1 February, 2013: Minister For Planning announces State policy protection for Macedon Ranges

Click here to see the Minister's media release.  More news as it becomes available...


18 September 2012:  Minister tells MRRA protection "definitely coming ", and "soon" Reaffirmed 18/12/12

  June 2011: Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 To Be State Policy By End Of 2011  When?










Flashback to 2010


2010 Victorian Election:


Liberal / National State Government

"Keeps Macedon Ranges Rural"



Thank you, Baillieu government!

Thank you to everyone who supported and helped MRRA,

and worked towards this result.


MRRA Post Election Media Release



They said they would protect Macedon Ranges.


They said protection would be in place before Christmas, 2011.


Come on, Liberal / National Coalition Government...




You Promised.


Macedon Ranges needs it.


We are counting on you.