The Victorian Government is committed to protecting the Yarra River by implementing stronger planning policy and controls to manage existing development pressures.

This project implements a number of recently prepared strategic planning studies and address gaps in existing planning controls along the Yarra River to provide a consistent strengthened planning policy and control framework for the Yarra River between Richmond and Warrandyte.

Yarra River


The Minister for Planning is seeking to make permanent the planning controls introduced in 2017 to safeguard the Yarra River and prevent over-development in the Yarra River corridor. 

The controls were originally introduced in February 2017 on an interim basis through planning scheme amendment GC48.

The interim controls are due to expire on 31 January 2021. To ensure that controls remain in place on an ongoing basis, the Minister for Planning is now consulting with local councils to finalise their permanent application.  

The Victorian Government is committed to the establishment of strengthened governance arrangements for the management of the Yarra River. Further announcements will be made in due course.

Lower and Middle Recommendations Reports

Recommendations reports have been prepared for the ‘lower’ (Richmond to Fairfield) and ‘middle’ (Ivanhoe to Warrandyte) segments of the broader study area.  These reports form part of a suite of products that informed the implementation of Amendment GC48.

Both reports:

  • outline a brief history of planning for the Yarra River as whole and for each specific river segment;
  • document the values and define a series of river interface character types and important views throughout both river segments;
  • provide an overarching analysis of gaps and opportunities through review of past studies and existing planning controls;
  • present a clear and consistent approach for the application of planning scheme controls to protect the Yarra River from inappropriate development; and
  • present local area recommendations regarding potential height, setback, overshadowing and other issues that are then further analysed in detail within council level reports (municipal toolkits).

Both reports provide a consistent approach. Managing development along the Yarra River, between Richmond and Warrandyte, an area under ongoing and emerging development pressure.

Municipal Toolkits

Municipal toolkits have been prepared for each local council setting out proposed planning provisions to implement the findings and outcomes of the recommendation reports.  The detail contained in these reports has informed the application of strengthened planning controls implemented through Amendment GC48.

Each municipal toolkit contains the specific recommended changes to each planning scheme and provide strategic analysis outlining the required planning controls for implementation in each local area.


This project implements strengthened planning policy and controls in local planning schemes protecting the landscape and environmental qualities of the Yarra River corridor between Richmond and Warrandyte. This project has:

  • strengthened State Planning Policy regarding the Yarra River (Amendment VC121)
  • reviewed and considered recommendations from range of past strategic studies and reports
  • reviewed all existing planning controls to identify gaps and inconsistencies that may exist
  • developed model planning controls which contain local level detail and guidance that is applied consistently throughout the Yarra River corridor
  • implement those planning controls across six planning scheme amendments (Amendment GC48).

This project has been delivered across three phases which commenced in August 2015:

  • Phase 1: Strengthening existing State planning policy and determining the model planning control approach.
  • Phase 2: Preparation of detailed local planning controls specific to each municipality and implementation of these planning controls through a Group Planning Scheme Amendment.
  • Phase 3: Progression of a Planning Scheme amendment process implementing all local planning controls.

The department has and continues to work in partnership with the following municipalities and Melbourne Water:

The study area for both the lower and the middle Yarra River segments consists of a mix of private and public land adjacent to the Yarra River.  An analysis of the topographical character of the surrounding landscapes and the visibility of land from publicly accessible locations has informed the study area extent.

context map small

Previous Publications

Review of policies and controls for the Yarra River Corridor: Punt Road to Burke Road (June 2005)

Middle Yarra Concept Plan, Burke Road to Watsons Creek (1991/ 1993)

Developed by a working group coordinated by the Office of the Environment, these concept plans sought to fill the gap between previous plans by considering the length of the Yarra River between Watsons Creek and Burke Road. 

These documents outline how the Yarra should be planned to utilise its values and potential, considering both development and use of public and private land.

Middle Yarra Concept Plan: Dights Falls to Burke Road, State Government of Victoria (1990)

To develop this concept plan, a working group of relevant stakeholders was formed. The group made major recommendations regarding river course, wetlands, bushland, open space, private residential and industrial development and public facilities, the Eastern freeway, Yarra Boulevard and the trail network, as well as means to action the plan.

Statement of Planning Policy – No 4. River Yarra (1971)

This is a broad policy directive for the planning and development of the Yarra River and its immediate environs as an open space system for nature conservation and recreation. The policy provides, where appropriate for primary production and forestry.  The directive applied to the whole of the Yarra River catchment, east of Warrandyte.

More information

If you would like more information about this project please contact us at:

📧 Email:
☎ Phone: 136 186

Page last updated: 17/06/20