Last updated:

On this page:

Importance of green wedges and agricultural land

Under the Planning and Environmental Act 1987, green wedge land is defined as non-urban areas of metropolitan Melbourne that lie outside the urban growth boundary. Green wedge areas contain a mix of agriculture and low-density activities such as major infrastructure (airports, water facilities), major quarries, cultural heritage sites, biodiversity areas and water catchments.

Protecting Melbourne’s green wedges and keeping farms on our urban fringes working and producing is critical for communities now and for generations to come. Some of Victoria’s most productive agricultural land is within 100 km of central Melbourne. As our climate changes, the ideal conditions of agricultural land become even more important to Victoria’s food production.

Melbourne’s green wedges and surrounding farmland are key to our economic prosperity. They provide thousands of jobs in agriculture, conservation, and tourism as they host a range of activities including food production and agritourism such as our famous wineries. They also provide critical infrastructure like water treatment plants, and raw materials to build our houses, roads and train lines. They also include some of the world’s best parks, wetlands and nature reserves, and contain a rich Aboriginal and post-contact cultural history.

Planning for green wedges and agricultural land action plan

Why do we need an action plan?

Proximity to Melbourne, the rapid pace of growth and change, and the range of other land uses competing for space make these areas some of the most contested in the state. Beautiful and scenic rural landscapes near Melbourne are an attractive location for urban development and rural living. These urban uses compete with agriculture, resulting in the permanent loss of agricultural land and associated businesses.

Robust planning controls are needed to maintain the benefits provided by green wedges and agricultural land, including land use management to support long term planning that serves the needs of Melbourne’s growing population.

As our climate changes and our growth areas experience a rapid pace of change, protection of agricultural land becomes even more important to Victoria’s food production.

From 2019, the Victorian Government has led technical assessment and consultation on how we should identify key challenges relating to land use planning in green wedges and agricultural land, including an options paper that received 879 public submissions.

The action plan

Following extensive consultation with community, councils and industry, the Department of Transport and Planning has released a new plan that outlines 20 actions to protect Victoria’s green wedges and agricultural land.

The actions are grouped under six themes:

  • Protecting Melbourne’s food bowl – new protections to help farmlands close to Melbourne remain productive and resilient.
  • Planning for future farming – clearer guidelines and advice to councils on planning future farming activities.
  • Securing the right to farm – new measures to prevent land-use conflict and incompatible green wedge land use and development.
  • Establishing stronger protections – improved guidance and directions for councils in land use strategy and land management.
  • Adopting smarter land use – review and update planning decision guidelines and planning application requirements to support appropriate land use and development.
  • Setting tighter controls – strengthening planning controls in green wedges and prohibiting and restricting discretionary uses.

The action plan supports the work underway to support developing a new plan for Victoria and Victoria’s Housing Statement, which reinforce the importance of protecting green wedges and agricultural land as part of creating a more consolidated and sustainable city.

Further background

Phase 1 consultation findings
Phase 2 consultation papers
Background research

Green wedge management plans

Green wedge management plans are prepared by the relevant councils and provide local context to the values and strategies for a particular green wedge area. Each plan must respond to the unique features and functions of Victoria’s green wedges that include agricultural uses, forestry and aquaculture, tourism and recreation, built and natural heritage, infrastructure sites and renewable and non-renewable resources.

Green wedge management plans provide a framework for their sustainable use and development now and into the future.

Each green wedge management plan identifies:

  • Values and features including Aboriginal cultural heritage that should be protected.
  • Preferred future land use
  • Environmental and natural resources
  • Type, scale and form of change in the green wedge
  • How those changes will be managed and facilitated

Green wedge planning provisions

We are committed to protecting Melbourne’s green wedges and keeping farms on our urban fringes working and producing for generations to come.  The planning system includes a range of tools to help protect our green wedges, including:

Green wedge planning provisions

Victoria’s green wedges

  • Brimbank
  • Cardinia
  • Casey
  • Frankston
  • Greater Dandenong
  • Hobsons Bay
  • Hume
  • Kingston
  • Knox
  • Manningham
  • Maroondah
  • Melton
  • Mornington Peninsula
  • Nillumbik
  • Whittlesea
  • Wyndham
  • Yarra Ranges.

Select a green wedge area to see the green wedge management plan.

History of green wedges

The government established new localised statements of planning policy for 4 special areas within Victoria.

2 are located in green wedge areas: Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley.

The term green wedges was formally recognised in the Melbourne 2030: Planning for Sustainable Growth metropolitan strategy.

An urban growth boundary was introduced to manage outward expansion.

Green wedges were enshrined in legislation and the Victoria Planning Provisions.

Living Suburbs (1995) didn't focus on green wedges, but it included objectives to protect the non-urban values of these areas.

A standardised framework based on the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP) was introduceed as part of reforms to the Victorian planning system in the mid 1990s.

Policies such as Shaping Melbourne's Future (1987) reinforced protection for non-urban areas.

New metropolitan planning schemes were introduced in 1989:

  • the regional component of all metropolitan planning schemes was amended to incorporate a policy statement for non-urban areas.

The Planning Policies for the Melbourne Metropolitan Region (1971) report identified the that the values of this land should be preserved:

“Land use, resources, terrain, vegetation and habitat vary extensively throughout the non-urban areas. It is intended that the basic attributes and resources contained within the areas shall be preserved to a maximum degree, and that environment management policies shall be specifically oriented towards this objective.”

– Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works, page 54 (1971)

The Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works introduced Statements of Planning Policy to formally protect the economic, social, environmental and landscape values of key non-urban areas, including:

  • Dandenong Ranges
  • Mornington Peninsula
  • Western Port
  • Yarra Valley.

Page last updated: 16/03/24


Last updated: