The Victorian Government is committed to protecting Melbourne’s green wedges and keeping farms on our urban fringes working and producing 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 critical 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.
Protecting the significant features and assets found in these areas is important for ongoing environmental, economic, cultural and health and wellbeing outcomes for all Victorians.
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 manage land use to support long term agricultural use that serves the needs of Melbourne’s growing population.
As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, local communities are reconnecting with green spaces near their homes and with where and how our food is produced. Strengthening protections for green wedges and agricultural land will ensure people can continue to get out into nature and connect with the land.
Consultation and next steps
In 2019, we consulted on how we should identify important agricultural land and better understand what outcomes people would like us to achieve (Phase 1 consultation). A summary of findings from Phase 1 consultation is available to download from the ‘Documents’ tab of this page.
We also consulted with green wedge councils in 2018 – 2019 to identify key challenges relating to land use planning in the green wedges.
Both of these processes informed the development of proposed planning system reform options for Melbourne’s green wedges and agricultural land.
From mid-2020 – early 2021 we consulted with stakeholders and the community on the proposed options (Phase 2 consultation).
A report summarising feedback received during Phase 2 consultation will be released in mid-2021. To subscribe to project updates, visit Engage Victoria and click the ‘follow’ button at the top of the page.
We are reviewing submissions to determine which of the proposed planning system reform options will be implemented, and how. It is anticipated that implementation will occur in 2021 – 2022.
Planning Projects Team
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
This project responds to a key Victorian Government election commitment to permanently protect the green wedges against overdevelopment through tightened statutory planning controls. The commitment calls for clearly defined permitted land uses, determining the appropriate size and scale of uses within the non-urban setting, and permanent planning controls and legislation to protect and support strategic agricultural land.
The project also delivers on key Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 actions, including:
- 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.
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Phase 2 consultation paper
This paper outlines planning system reform options that aim to deliver lasting protection of Melbourne’s agricultural land and guide decision-making in our green wedges. The consultation paper was shared during Phase 2 consultation (mid-2020 – early 2021). Consultation has now closed and a report summarising feedback received during Phase 2 consultation will be released in mid-2021.
Phase 1 consultation findings
The first step to protect food production in the green wedge and peri-urban areas was to understand the potential of the land. Technical research informed the development of draft criteria to protect agricultural land, which were available for community consideration and comment from 12 March 2019 to 17 May 2019. An independent consultation findings report was released in September 2019.
- Protecting and Supporting Melbourne's Strategic Agricultural Land Consultation Findings Report (PDF, 1.3 MB) or (DOCX, 3.0 MB)
These technical studies informed the previous stage of the project and engagement on protecting Melbourne’s agricultural land.