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What are green wedges?

The non-urban areas of metropolitan Melbourne that lie outside the urban growth boundary are known as green wedges. There are 12 designated green wedge areas across 17 municipalities which form a ring around the city. The use and appearance of land in each green wedge area is unique. The landscape ranges from coastline, to the open basalt plains of the west, to the highly scenic countryside of the Yarra Valley.

Green wedge areas contain a mix of agriculture and low density activities such as:

  • major infrastructure that supports urban areas, including:
    • Melbourne and Moorabbin airports
    • the western and eastern water treatment facilities
  • major quarries used in the building industry
  • cultural heritage sites
  • biodiversity conservation areas
  • water catchments.

About one third of the total green wedge area is public land, including national parks, other parks, reserves, and closed protected water catchments.

Victoria’s green wedges

Green wedge land is defined under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 as land that is described in a metropolitan fringe planning scheme as being outside an Urban Growth Boundary (UGB).

A metropolitan fringe planning scheme is a planning scheme applying to any of the following municipal councils:

  • 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.

Importance of green wedges

Green wedges and surrounding farmland are critical to our economic prosperity. They provide thousands of jobs in agriculture, conservation and tourism through a range of activities, and contain a rich Aboriginal and post-contact cultural history.

Protecting the features and assets in these areas is important for ongoing environmental, economic, cultural and health and wellbeing outcomes for all Victorians.

Each green wedge has unique features and serves particular functions. They require a management approach that responds to their individual values and features that promotes their diversity. Some of the features and functions of our different green wedges include:

  • agricultural uses, such as market gardening, viticulture and broad acre farming
  • forestry and land-based aquaculture
  • rural and scenic landscapes and other environmental assets
  • renewable and non-renewable resources
  • infrastructure sites that support urban areas, such as sewage treatment plants and landfill sites
  • extractive industries, such as sand and stone extraction
  • tourism and recreation features
  • built and natural heritage, including Aboriginal cultural heritage.

Some of Victoria’s most productive agricultural land is within 100 km of central Melbourne. The land is also an attractive location for urban development and rural living due to its rural scenic values. These urban uses often compete with agriculture, resulting in the permanent loss of agricultural land and associated businesses. 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.

Green wedge management plans

Green wedge management plans are used to manage change in green wedges. These plans are prepared and adopted by the relevant councils to provide a framework for the sustainable use and development of each green wedge.

Each green wedge management plan identifies:

  • values and features
  • preferred future land use
  • environmental and natural resources that should be protected
  • type, scale and form of change in the green wedge
  • how those changes will be managed and facilitated.

We help councils prepare green wedge management plans by providing targeted funding, technical advice and guidance.

Green wedge management plans

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

Plan Melbourne actions

Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 actions relevant to Melbourne’s green wedges and peri-urban areas include:

Action 17 Supporting Strategic Planning for Agriculture which recognises the importance of supporting sustainable agricultural land and protecting the right to farm in key locations in Melbourne’s green wedges and peri-urban areas.

Action 72 Review Green Wedge Planning Provisions which aims to ensure the green wedge planning provisions support Plan Melbourne outcomes for green wedges.

Action 73 Green Wedge Management Plans which seeks to support local governments in preparing and implementing Green Wedge Management Plans in order to protect the important values of Melbourne’s green wedges.

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: 18/09/23


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