The East Paddock at Hanging Rock, home to regular large-scale music concerts, will remain in the hands of Macedon Ranges Shire Council.
The council discussed in confidence at its May 1 meeting whether to to transfer ownership to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, who expressed its interest in buying the paddock to manage the land as one whole precinct.
But council chief executive Margot Stork said council would continue to use the site.
“Council will continue to use the site as it currently does. If the site transfers to DELWP, then further discussion will need to occur regarding the future use of the site,” Ms Stork said.
The East Paddock, an area of about 56 acres, is adjacent to Hanging Rock Reserve and has been used by council as picnic shelters and events like open-air music concerts.
In August of 2018, council resolved to adopt the Hanging Rock Strategic Plan in principle, hand-in-hand with the State Government.
The plan detailed the government work with council on an implementation plan for the immediate and high priority actions of the Hanging Rock Strategic Plan, begin discussions on the future ownership of the council-owned East Paddock, and by providing $375,000 to support the maintenance of current infrastructure at the Rock.
The plan recognises the state and national significance of the precinct and sets out future objectives, while also outlining a greater involvement for Aboriginal Traditional Owner groups in future management arrangements.
Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas, in favour of the site being managed as one precinct, said it would create more tourism and an increased number of visitors.
“Hanging Rock is one of Victoria’s most iconic natural assets, and we are working hard to ensure it is protected for all future generations,” Ms Thomas said.
“We have invested $3 million to deliver the Hanging Rock Strategic Plan. This will allow the site to be purchased, and mean that the East Paddock site and Hanging Rock can be managed and protected as one precinct.
“We are also fast tracking new environmental protections and greater recognition of Hanging Rock’s Aboriginal cultural significance.
“This will create more tourism and recreation opportunities for locals and visitors.”