Landmark Bill passes

LANDMARK legislation has passed through state parliament that will see greater protection afforded to Macedon Ranges

Iconic natural areas within the shire will now have better developmental protection through the Distinctive Areas and Landscapes Bill 2017.

The Bill declares the Macedon Ranges region 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 Shire Localised Planning Statement, which ensures policy reflects the community’s vision for the future of the area.

Member for Macedon, Mary-Anne Thomas, has welcomed the Bill saying the legislation will lock down the treasured natural landscapes and encourage development in appropriate areas to ensure townships grow sustainably.

“The Macedon Ranges is one of Victoria’s most beautiful and environmentally sensitive areas, so it’s only fitting that this is the first place to receive protection from this new legislation,” Ms Thomas said.

“The Bill means the amenity and landscapes of the Macedon Ranges will be preserved for generations to come. The area has a unique history, and thanks to the passage of this legislation we’re giving it a safe and secure future,” she added.

Macedon Ranges Shire Mayor, Cr Jennifer Anderson, said that the passing of the Bill was an important step forward in the process to protect the region.

“Council continues to work with the Victorian Government on the Macedon Ranges Localised Planning Statement, which is the next step in the process,” Cr Anderson said.

“The draft statement was available for public comment in late 2017 and early 2018 and the feedback has since been analysed. Council understands a community consultation report summarising the feedback is expected to be released shortly by the government and will consider a final localised planning statement in coming months,” Cr Anderson added.

A major provision in the Bill includes settlement boundaries around townships in the area, ensuring development doesn’t encroach on valued natural landscapes.

The settlement boundaries will apply to the townships of Romsey, Riddells Creek, Lancefield Gisborne, Kyneton, and Woodend.

They will be subject to the same rigorous protections of Melbourne’s permanent Urban Growth Boundary – and will require parliamentary approval to amend them.

The Macedon Ranges Protection Advisory Committee was established 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 all were accepted.