The Victorian government is committed to protecting the long-term future of agricultural land in Melbourne’s green wedge and peri-urban areas. Some of Victoria’s most productive agricultural land is within 100 km of central Melbourne. In 2015-16 the region grew 10 per cent of Victoria’s agricultural production, including 59 per cent of vegetables.
Melbourne’s green wedges also support Melbourne through biodiversity, recreation, tourism, open space, natural resources, heritage and landscape conservation, and critical infrastructure provision.
Protecting the significant features and assets found in these areas is important for ongoing environmental, economic, cultural and health and wellbeing outcomes.
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 wedge and peri-urban areas and manage land use to support long term agricultural use that serves the needs of Melbourne’s growing population.
From February 2019 to May 2019, DELWP undertook stakeholder and community engagement to test and refine the draft criteria with the community, agricultural industry, local government and key authorities. This was the first phase of engagement for this project.
The findings from the engagement will inform the updated criteria and mapping of strategic agricultural land and the approach adopted to protect and support these areas. The updated criteria, maps and planning response options will be subject to further engagement (phase two) with impacted stakeholders and community.