Greater protection for towns

Macedon Ranges shire mayor Janet Pearce, Wurundjeri Elder Alice Kolasa, Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, Member for Macedon, Mary-Anne Thomas, Taungurung Elder Joanne Honeysett, and Dja Dja Wurrung Elder, Rodney Carter (Supplied)

By Jessica Micallef

The Macedon Ranges will be protected against over-development and “urban sprawl” for the next 50 years.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne launched an updated Statement of Policy Planning for the Macedon Ranges last week, which now specifies that protected boundaries for towns including Kyneton, Lancefield, Riddells Creek and Woodend will require government approval to change.

The Statement of Planning Policy is a 50-year vision and strategy which provides a framework to ensure the landscapes, settlement history, the natural environment, catchments and biodiversity of the Macedon Ranges are protected, conserved and enhanced.

Mr Wynne said the planning policy would provide planning certainty to the community.

“You now know what the rules are going to be, where settlement can occur, where settlement boundaries are going to be, and indeed where areas that are so precious to the community will have enduring protections as well,” he said.

Mr Wynne said there was still work to be done on finalising settlement boundaries for Gisborne and Romsey.

Macedon MP Mary-Anne Thomas said the updated planning policy was a win for the Macedon Ranges to protect its “beautiful landscapes”.

“I’m delighted our beautiful and environmentally-sensitive region is getting the protection it deserves and that we have delivered on our commitment to the people of the Macedon Ranges,” she said.

“This is very definitive in terms of setting boundaries for our townships outside of which residential development cannot occur. Farmland is protected, our waterways are protected, it really gives great certainty.”

In May 2018, the Planning and Environment Act was amended to reflect the declaration of the Macedon Ranges as a “distinctive area”.

In August 2018, the Macedon Ranges became the first area in Victoria designated as a distinctive area to protect the region from over-development and “urban sprawl”.

Following community input, the Statement of Planning Policy was prepared by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning together with Macedon Ranges council. The policy was approved and came into effect in December last year.

To read the statement, visit: