THE Victorian Government last week announced that the state's most iconic natural areas will now have better developmental protection following the successful passage of the Distinctive Areas and Landscapes Bill 2017 through State Parliament.
The Bill was a key State Government election commitment to protect the iconic and historic Macedon Ranges region by declaring the Ranges a distinctive area – strengthening planning controls and protecting the region from inappropriate development.
The Bill will also complement the ongoing development of the Macedon Ranges Localised Planning Statement, which ensures policy reflects the community's vision for the future of Macedon Ranges.
This includes settlement boundaries around townships in the area to ensure development does not encroach on valued natural landscapes. The settlement boundaries will apply to the townships of Gisborne, Kyneton, Romsey, Riddells Creek, Lancefield and Woodend.
The boundaries will be subject to the same protections as Melbourne's permanent Urban Growth Boundary – and will require parliamentary approval to amend them.
The government said it will continue to work closely with the community to get the Localised Planning Statement right. The Macedon Ranges Protection Advisory Committee was appointed in 2015 to work with the community and the council on how best to protect what makes the Macedon Ranges special. The Committee made 12 recommendations and the government has accepted them all.
More information is available from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website at <https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/policy-and-strategy/macedon-ranges-protection>.