The Victorian Government is committed to protecting Melbourne’s green wedges and keeping farms on our urban fringes working and producing for generations to come. Some of Victoria’s most productive agricultural land is within 100 km of central Melbourne. As our climate changes, the ideal conditions of agricultural land become even more important to Victoria’s food production.
Melbourne’s green wedges and surrounding farmland are critical to our economic prosperity. They provide thousands of jobs in agriculture, conservation, and tourism as they host a range of activities including food production and agritourism such as our famous wineries. They also provide critical infrastructure like water treatment plants, and raw materials to build our houses, roads and train lines. They also include some of the world’s best parks, wetlands and nature reserves, and contain a rich Aboriginal and post-contact cultural history.
Protecting the significant features and assets found in these areas is important for ongoing environmental, economic, cultural and health and wellbeing outcomes for all Victorians.
Proximity to Melbourne, the rapid pace of growth and change, and the range of other land uses competing for space make these areas some of the most contested in the state. Beautiful and scenic rural landscapes near Melbourne are an attractive location for urban development and rural living. These urban uses compete with agriculture, resulting in the permanent loss of agricultural land and associated businesses.
Robust planning controls are needed to maintain the benefits provided by green wedges and manage land use to support long term agricultural use that serves the needs of Melbourne’s growing population.
As a result of the coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic, local communities are reconnecting with green spaces near
their homes and with where and how our food is produced. Strengthening protections
for green wedges and agricultural land will ensure people can continue to get
out into nature and connect with the land.
What are the next steps for the project?
We will consider community and stakeholder feedback received during the consultation process as we refine the options for improving planning for Melbourne’s green wedges and agricultural land. We will collate and analyse feedback received during the consultation period in the coming months, and report on results.
In 2019 we engaged with farmers, community members, industry, local government and stakeholders to test criteria for protecting agricultural land around Melbourne. You can read the consultation findings report here.
We have considered your feedback and have developed planning options to deliver lasting protection of agricultural land and guide decision-making in our green wedges.
These options are outlined in a consultation paper, which is available to download via the Consultation Hub.
Update on consultation approach and timing
To make sure everyone’s got a chance to tell us what they think during this challenging time, we’ve adjusted our consultation programme.
For the first ten weeks of consultation we talked with State Government agencies, councils and key industry stakeholders. On Thursday 26 November 2020, we opened up consultation to the public and stakeholder organisations for another ten weeks.
You can provide feedback on the proposed planning options by attending an online community information session, commenting on our feedback map or making a submission.
Head to the Consultation Hub to register for an online community information session or make a submission by 5pm on Friday 5 February 2021.