MACEDON RANGES OFFICIALLY DECLARED A DISTINCTIVE AREA

The stunning and historic Macedon Ranges will be protected for years to come, with strengthened planning controls to protect this iconic region from over-development.

Minister for Planning Richard Wynne declared the region a distinctive area under the Planning and Environment Amendment (Distinctive Areas and Landscapes) Act 2018 on 16 August 2018, fulfilling an Andrews Labor Government election promise.

The highest level of planning controls are now available to protect the rich diversity of environment and cultural treasures in our region including the iconic Hanging Rock, Mt Macedon, the Wombat State Forest and Mt William and the Stone Axe Quarry

Settlement boundaries around townships in the area, including Gisborne, Kyneton, Romsey, Riddells Creek, Lancefield and Woodend are being finalized and will ensure urban development doesn’t encroach on valued natural landscapes.

Once established these boundaries will be subject to the same rigorous protections of Melbourne’s permanent Urban Growth Boundary – and can only be altered with the approval of both houses of the Victorian Parliament.

Minister Wynne also released the findings of the Consultation Report on the draft Macedon Ranges Localised Planning Statement, including 207 written submissions and 134 online survey responses.

Over 140 people attended community sessions as part of the consultation process. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning in consultation with the Macedon Ranges Shire is now finalising the Statement of Planning Policy.

A new Statement of Planning Policy will incorporate feedback, including:

  • Clear identification of the local features and areas of State significance to be protected
  • Clear definitions of settlement boundaries, including redefining the settlement boundary for Woodend to align with the existing township boundary
  • Clearer explanation of the rigorous planning and steps required to change a settlement boundary
  • Incorporation of traditional knowledge and practices for biodiversity and land management
  • Greater consideration for climate change and environmental risks such as bushfire and flooding
  • A higher priority on protecting the region’s landscapes, environmental values, and cultural heritage.

The Government will continue to work closely with community, the Macedon Ranges Shire Council, Traditional Owners and key stakeholders to ensure the policy reflects the community’s vision for the future of the Macedon Ranges.

The Consultation Report is available at engage.vic.gov.au/macedon-ranges-localised-planning- statement.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Planning Richard Wynne

“The rich landscape of the Macedon Ranges includes some of Victoria’s most historic townships and beautiful areas and will now be protected by the highest level of planning protection.

“We’re delighted to be protecting areas beloved by all Victorians, including the Wombat State Forest, Lerderderg State Park and Hanging Rock.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas

“We’re protecting the charm and beauty of the Macedon Ranges from over-development for generations to come.”

“Local residents know and understand this unique area better than anyone and they’ve been at the forefront of shaping the final planning statement.”