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Victoria is home to a number of unique and sensitive landscapes and distinctive places that are highly valued for their environmental, social, cultural and economic assets. These areas are vital to the functioning of our urban areas, providing people with clean air, drinking water, food, resources and recreational opportunities.
These areas are under increasing pressure for development because of their attractiveness, accessibility and proximity to our cities, and because of environmental factors like the impacts of climate change.
These areas are being protected so that they can continue to be enjoyed by current and future generations.
The Distinctive Areas and Landscapes Standing Advisory Committee has been appointed to consider and provide advice on matters relating to the Statements of Planning Policy (SPP) for these areas.
The Bass Coast is known for its valued rural and coastal landscapes, farmland and biodiversity. The area is popular with both residents and visitors. Phillip Island attracts tourists with its beaches, wetlands and wildlife.
Bass Coast has been declared a ‘distinctive area and landscape’ to protect the environment, landscape and lifestyle.
The Department of Transport and Planning (DTP) is currently finalising the draft Statement of Planning Policy (SPP) for the area. The draft Bass Coast SPP was developed in collaboration with Bass Coast Shire Council, the Bunurong and relevant government agencies and authorities.
The draft Bass Coast SPP and proposed landscape controls were publicly consulted on from 3 March to 29 April 2022. These documents and all written submissions were referred by the former Minister for Planning to the Distinctive Areas and Landscapes Standing Advisory Committee (DALSAC) on 26 October 2022 for independent advice. The DALSAC hearing process concluded on 27 April 2023. The committee is expected to submit its report on the findings and recommendations on the hearing to the Minister for Planning within 40 business days from the end of proceedings.
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The Bellarine Peninsula is known for its coastal setting, rural hinterland and artisan producers. Given its proximity to both Geelong and Melbourne, it has long been a place to live and visit. With its excellent beaches and historic towns, it is a popular tourist destination.
Because of this, the area is now under significant pressure from urban development. Alongside the growing threat of climate change risks, the Bellarine Peninsula needs protection.
The Bellarine Peninsula has been declared a ‘distinctive area and landscape’. This declaration offers protection for the environment, landscapes, cultural heritage and natural resources of the area, while providing certainty for investment.
Following extensive community feedback, a Statement of Planning Policy has been endorsed by all responsible public entities and ministers responsible for those entities, and approved by the Governor in Council. It is operational and forms part of the Victoria Planning Provisions that guide land use and development decision-making in Victoria.
The Statement of Planning Policy was prepared in collaboration with the Borough of Queenscliffe, the City of Greater Geelong, the Wadawurrung, and relevant government agencies and authorities. It includes a vision and integrated plan to guide land use, management and development within the Bellarine Peninsula for the next 50 years.
The Greater Geelong and Queenscliffe planning schemes will now be amended to give effect to the policy.
For more information and to view a copy of the Bellarine Peninsula Statement of Planning Policy, please visit:
The Surf Coast is renowned for its excellent beaches, coastal biodiversity, and a wealth of recreation and tourism opportunities. It is also the gateway to the Great Ocean Road, a national heritage site.
The Surf Coast has experienced significant urban development pressure, particularly in Torquay-Jan Juc.
Areas of the Surf Coast have been declared a “distinctive area and landscape’ to protect the environment, landscape and lifestyle. DELWP prepared the Surf Coast Statement of Planning Policy for the declared area in collaboration with the Wadawurrung, the Surf Coast Shire, the City of Greater Geelong, relevant government agencies and authorities and with significant input from communities and key stakeholders.
The final draft Surf Coast SPP has been endorsed by all responsible public entities and ministers responsible for those entities. It has been finalised and approved by the Governor in Council.
The Surf Coast SPP is now operational and forms part of the Victoria Planning Provisions that guide land use and development decision-making in Victoria.
For more information and to view a copy of the Surf Coast SPP, visit:
The Macedon Ranges region is important for its strong environmental and cultural heritage values, contributing to its unique character, the production of some of the best food and wine in Victoria, and its attractive tourist destinations such as Hanging Rock. However, its proximity to Melbourne and its popularity with tourists and new residents places it under a unique set of pressures.
On 16 August 2018, the Macedon Ranges became the first area to be declared under the Planning and Environment Amendment (Distinctive Areas and Landscapes) Act 2018.
Following significant community input, a Statement of Planning Policy was prepared by The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) in partnership with Macedon Ranges Shire Council and the Traditional Owners of the Dja Dja Wurrung, Taungurung and Wurundjeri peoples.
The Statement of Planning Policy was approved on 10 December 2019 and came into effect on 12 December 2019.
Visit the Macedon Ranges Shire Council site to read the Statement of Planning Policy for the Macedon Ranges.
Distinctive Areas and Landscapes legislation
In 2018, the Victorian Government passed landmark legislation to recognise and safeguard the state’s distinctive areas and landscapes and to achieve better coordinated decision-making by government agencies, local councils and other key parties.
The Planning and Environment Amendment (Distinctive Areas and Landscapes) Act 2018, enables the government to declare a distinctive area and landscape subject to meeting strict criteria.
Once declared, a Statement of Planning Policy must be prepared for the area in partnership with Traditional Owners, local councils and the community.
A Statement of Planning Policy will include a long-term vision of at least 50 years, policy objectives and strategies to achieve the vision, and a strategic framework plan for guiding the future use and development of land in the declared areas.
This plan may identify long-term settlement boundaries to ensure that development does not inappropriately encroach into valued natural and rural landscapes.
Once implemented, Parliament must ratify any future changes the settlement boundaries. This is the same process in place for Melbourne’s Urban Growth Boundary.
Localised planning statements
Prior to the passing of the Planning and Environment Amendment (Distinctive Areas and Landscapes) Act 2018 the government prepared Localised Planning Statements for protecting and enhancing the valued attributes of peri-urban areas.
Localised Planning Statements are in place for the Mornington Peninsula, and the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges. The Bellarine Peninsula Localised Planning Statement has been transitioned to a Statement of Planning Policy.
Page last updated: 10/08/23