Overview

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.

Learn how to get involved

Regions

Macedon Ranges Protection Project

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 final draft Statement of Planning Policy has been prepared by 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.

Read the Statement of Planning Policy for the Macedon Ranges (PDF, 10.8 MB)

Learn more about the Consultation on Macedon Ranges Statement of Planning Policy at:

Engage Victoria

Bass Coast Distinctive Area and Landscape

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.

The government has declared the Bass Coast a ‘distinctive area and landscape’ to protect the environment, landscape and lifestyle.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is currently developing a draft Statement of Planning Policy for the area. Developed in collaboration with Bass Coast Shire Council, the Bunurong and relevant government agencies and authorities.

Phase 3 public consultation on the draft Bass Coast SPP is expected to start in August 2021. Consultation will take place subject to the Victorian Government's public health advice.

For more information and to subscribe for updates, please visit:

Engage Victoria

Bellarine Peninsula Distinctive Area and Landscape

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 Victorian Government has declared the Bellarine Peninsula a ‘distinctive area and landscape’. This declaration offers protection for the environment, landscapes and lifestyle of the area.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is currently developing a draft Statement of Planning Policy (SPP) for the area. It is being developed in collaboration with the Borough of Queenscliffe, the City of Greater Geelong, the Wadawurrung and relevant government agencies and authorities.

Phase 3 consultation on the draft Bellarine Peninsula SPP is expected to start in June 2021. Consultation will take place subject to the Victorian Government’s public health advice.

For more information and to subscribe for updates, please visit:

Engage Victoria

Surf Coast Distinctive Area and Landscape

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.

The government has declared the Surf Coast a ‘distinctive area and landscape’ to protect the environment, landscape and lifestyle. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is now developing a draft Statement of Planning Policy for the area. Developed in collaboration with Surf Coast Shire Council, the City of Greater Geelong, the Wadawurrung and relevant government agencies and authorities.

Public consultation on the draft Surf Coast Statement of Planning Policy (SPP) and proposed landscape planning controls is now closed.

DELWP is continuing to deliver the government’s Distinctive Areas and Landscapes program while Victoria’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is underway. All project updates will be on this website and emailed to subscribers.

For more information and to subscribe for updates, please visit:

Engage Victoria

You may also be interested in...

Panel or Committee

The Standing Advisory Committee has been appointed pursuant to section 151 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to consider and provide advice on any matters relating to the Statements of Planning Policy (SPP) for the declared areas of Bass Coast, Bellarine Peninsula and Surf Coast that the Minister for Planning chooses to refer.

Terms of Reference

Panel Members

  • Kathy Mitchell (Chair)
  • Lester Townsend (Deputy Chair)
  • Con Tsotsoros (Deputy Chair)
  • Peter Boyle
  • Tanya Burdett
  • Shannon Davies
  • Peter Edwards
  • Ian Hamm
  • Sophie Handley
  • Gabby McMillan
  • Natasha Reifschneider
  • Geoff Underwood

Learn more about the members by reading their biographies (DOC, 71.0 KB).

Surf Coast

Referral

On 8 November 2020, the Minister for Planning referred the draft Surf Coast Statement of Planning Policy (SPP) and proposed landscape planning controls to the Committee for advice.

Directions Hearing

A Directions Hearing was held on Thursday 11 February 2021 by videoconference.

View the Committee Directions and Hearing timetable at Engage Victoria.

Main Hearing

The Public Hearing was held between 15 March 2021 and concluded on 29 April 2021.

Further information about the Hearing and Committee process can be viewed Engage Victoria.

Report

The Committee must submit its report to the Minister for Planning within 40 business days from the completion of Hearings, in accordance with the approved Terms of Reference.

More information

If you have any questions or need further information about the Standing Advisory Committee, use the contact details below.

Planning Panels Victoria
☎ Phone: 136 186
✉ Email: planning.panels@delwp.vic.gov.au

If you have any questions in relation to the Distinctive Areas and Landscapes program, use the contact details below.

Places and Precincts, DELWP

☎Phone: 136 186

✉Email: planning.implementation@delwp.vic.gov.au

Have your say

We invite you to help shape the visions and strategies of the places you care most about.

Status: Closed

Bass Coast

Consultation will open at key stages of the project.

For further information about the Bass Coast consultation process, please visit:

Engage Victoria

Status: Open

Bellarine Peninsula

Public consultation on the draft Bellarine Peninsula Statement of Planning Policy (SPP) is now open. Online submissions will be accepted until 5:00pm 20 August 2021.

For further information about the Bellarine Peninsula consultation process, please visit:

Have your say

Status: Closed

Surf Coast

Public consultation on the draft Surf Coast Statement of Planning Policy (SPP) and proposed landscape planning controls has now closed and submissions have been referred to an Advisory Committee for consideration.

For further information about the Surf Coast consultation process, please visit:

Engage Victoria

The Minister for Planning has appointed an independent Committee, known as the Distinctive Areas and Landscapes Standing Advisory Committee (the Committee) to collect and consider submissions, convene a public hearing and advise him on the draft Surf Coast Statement of Planning Policy. View information about the Committee on the ‘Panels and Committee’ tab.

Legislation

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.

Distinctive Areas and Landscapes Legislation Fact Sheet (PDF, 135.8 KB)

Localised Planning Statements

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 Bellarine Peninsula, the Mornington Peninsula, and the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges. The Bellarine Peninsula Localised Planning Statement will be updated and transitioned to a Statement of Planning Policy once the area is declared as a distinctive area and landscape under the Planning and Environment Act 1987.