Features Features Features

(Last Updated 30/4/05)



The Urban Conversion:



'Victoria In Future’ Growth Projections and The Hidden Agenda For A Suburban Macedon Ranges

(30/4/05 - SP)


If you’ve been wondering why the State government hasn’t delivered its seven year old promise to protect Macedon Ranges Shire, wonder no more.



The Bracks Government’s Broken Promises


Macedon Ranges is a RURAL shire with State level significance: its resources, features and values are important to all of Victoria.


‘Victoria In Future’ Growth Projections:  Galloping Growth for Macedon Ranges Shire


According to the Department of Sustainability and Environment’s housing and population growth projections (Victoria In Future, 2004), Macedon Ranges Shire will be one of the fastest growing exurban [rural fringe] areas in Victoria over the next 30 years (i.e. until 2031).  Here’s what VIF says:


“Growth in exurban [rural fringe] municipalities such as Macedon Ranges on the periphery of Melbourne, is projected to be strong.  Macedon Ranges is projected to be one of the fastest growing exurban [rural fringe] areas in Victoria.   Population growth is projected to be well above the Victorian average and household growth will be at an even faster rate”.


About Victoria In Future Growth Projections


DSE’s population and housing growth projections are based upon an area’s population growth over the past 10 years, and building approvals in the past 3 years: VIF growth figures represent future growth rates if nothing changes.


“The meeting calls upon Council to not accept the growth scenarios in Victoria In Future and the Bendigo growth corridor plans, and to so advise the State government.”


The Suburban Agenda Exposed


Below is a composite map showing the Melbourne metropolitan area, Green Wedges, Macedon Ranges Shire, surrounding rural and other ‘exurban’ (rural fringe) shires, and other areas experiencing growth pressures such as Surf Coast, Bass Coast and South Gippsland Shires.  The red circle represents the distance from Melbourne CBD to Macedon Ranges Shire’s southern boundary.  Figures shown on the map are also shown in Table 1.


Note:  (37,672) =  Population at 2001 Census   + 13,000  = Population growth 2001 - 2031


Click here for a more detailed table comparison of Victoria In Future projections.



Map 1 – The Suburban Agenda


vif figures 2



Macedon Ranges:  The Next Suburb Of Melbourne


Map 1 shows that Macedon Ranges Shire – which has no Green Wedge or any other State level protection – is closer to Melbourne CBD than most areas that are protected by Green Wedges.


Those Green Wedges are diverting metropolitan development towards Macedon Ranges, an area of State significance, which is clearly intended to soak up development pushed out of Melbourne by the Green Wedges.


With suburban growth leaping-frogging over the Green Wedges, the long-term survival of the Green Wedges is also under threat.


  Table 1 – The Suburban Agenda

(r) = rural shire
(m) = metropolitan* Designated
metro growth area

Population 2001

VIF Additional Population Growth 2031

Bass Coast (r)



Baw Baw (r)



Hepburn (r)



Macedon Ranges (r)



Mitchell (r)



Moorabool (r)



Mt. Alexander (r)



Murrundindi (r)



South Gippsland (r)



Surf Coast (r)



Hume (m) *



Melton (m) *



Mornington Pen. (m)



Nillumbik (m)



Yarra Ranges (m)

































The Suburban Agenda: Implementation


While the State government refuses to provide planning protection, the framework for suburbia is silently being put in place.  Here are some of the reasons why we think that way:


After promising to protect Macedon Ranges in 1998, and in 2004 re-affirming the government’s commitment to protect Macedon Ranges, State government representatives and a Minister have now told MRRA and residents that Macedon Ranges Shire already has State level planning protection. This is not true.


Melbourne Water’s boundaries now extend outside the metropolitan area and into Macedon Ranges.  Our Shire is low on water and Western Water is connecting the southern section of Macedon Ranges Shire (the parts closest to Melbourne) to Melbourne’s water supplies.  This will support suburban growth.


The State government has announced seven towns in Macedon Ranges Shire will be connected to natural gas, which will support both residential and industrial growth.  These towns are in the southern section of the Shire (the parts closest to Melbourne).  This will support suburban growth.


The recent Electoral Representation Review forced upon Macedon Ranges by the State government came up with and approved 3 new wards for Council elections.   The South Ward (Gisborne and Mt. Macedon) has significantly fewer voters than the West and East Wards.  The East Ward has fewer voters than the West Ward.  The South and East Wards include those parts of Macedon Ranges Shire that are closest to Melbourne.  The uneven distribution of voters between the three wards provides scope for substantial growth in the southern section of Macedon Ranges Shire (the parts closest to Melbourne) without triggering an unscheduled review of ward boundaries.  This will support suburban growth.



Gisborne Outline Development Plan (ODP)


In 2005, growth figures being used to prepare an Outline Development Plan for Gisborne:

While Gisborne can technically accommodate even this level of growth in existing residential zones (with metro-style ‘squeezed in’ development), two ODP options propose new residential zoning of rural land as well as metro-style ‘squeezed in’ development.

All options propose average 400 square metre lot sizes for existing quarter acre development throughout Gisborne township (‘squeezed in’).

Options (2 and 3) additionally introduce average 400 square metre lot sizes to New Gisborne (which is identified as a Melbourne 2030-style ‘activity centre’).


The Gisborne ODP Project is funded by the State government.



Bendigo Regional Growth Corridor Plan


The ‘Bendigo Corridor’ started as a Regional Network (Transport) Corridor (in Melbourne 2030).  It is now openly called a ‘growth corridor’ where the principles of Melbourne 2030 for metropolitan growth are being applied instead of the Melbourne 2030 principles for Regional Network Corridors.


Although the Macedon Ranges’ community was not consulted about Melbourne 2030, and has still not been consulted and has yet to see any plans for the Bendigo corridor, we understand the Bendigo plan is based on Victoria In Future growth projections.


The 2004 brief for the Corridor Plan project identifies Macedon and Mount Macedon, Lancefield, Tylden and Malmsbury as ‘urban centres’, and includes Tylden and Lancefield when neither are located on the defined transport corridor.


 Macedon Ranges Shire is the only State significant area affected by a ‘growth corridor’.



Help Us Victoria!


Suburbia Home Page

Say NO To Suburbia Noticeboard