Melbourne Strategic Assessment
A new approach to biodiversity in Melbourne's growth corridors
The Victorian Government has introduced a new approach to conserving biodiversity in Melbourne's growth corridors, building on the Melbourne Strategic Assessment and providing a range of benefits to stakeholders and the environment.
The new approach:
- Provides greater planning certainty
- Improves biodiversity outcomes for matters of environmental significance
- Further streamlines planning and approval processes for the growth corridors.
The new approach is being delivered through two major initiatives: Conservation strategies and a time stamping project.
To access specific information under the Melbourne Strategic Assessment, visit the following web pages:
- Conservation strategies - Habitat compensation and other requirements for developable areas - Protection and management of conservation areas - Time-stamping native vegetation - Melbourne Strategic Assessment publications
Conservation strategies for Melbourne's growth corridors
To implement this new approach, the Victorian Government approved four conservation strategies for the growth corridors:
- Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for Melbourne's Growth Corridors
- Sub-regional Species Strategy for the Southern Brown Bandicoot
- Sub-regional Species Strategy for the Growling Grass Frog
- Sub-regional Species Strategy for the Golden Sun Moth.
The Commonwealth Minister for the Environment has approved the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy, sub-regional species strategies for the Growling Grass Frog and Golden Sun Moth and the class of actions to allow development to occur in the Western, Northern and North-western growth corridors under the Melbourne Strategic Assessment under part 10 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
The Commonwealth Government has approved the Sub-regional Species Strategy for the Southern Brown Bandicoot, habitat connectivity supplement and the class of actions to allow urban development to occur in the South-Eastern growth corridor.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries has developed a Guidance Note: Implementing the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for Melbourne's Growth Corridors to set out how key components of the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for Melbourne's Growth Corridors will be implemented.
Tools and processes for implementing the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy through the planning system will be finalised and publicly available once planning schemes are amended.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries will continue to hold stakeholder briefings to discuss the implementation process.
For further information, please contact DELWP at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The time-stamping project
The time-stamping project is a 'time-stamped' native vegetation set of data and maps for the growth corridors. The data has been used to calculate native vegetation compensation requirements for urban development in the growth corridors.
Melbourne's urban development program
In June 2009, the Victorian and Commonwealth governments agreed to undertake a strategic assessment of the Victorian Government's urban development program Delivering Melbourne's newest sustainable communities.
Made under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, the agreement focuses on matters of national environmental significance.
The program involves urban development in four growth corridors and in 28 existing urban precincts, as well as the development of a Regional Rail Link Corridor between Werribee and Deer Park; and the Outer Metropolitan Ring/E6 Transport Corridor.
The areas included in the program and covered by the Melbourne Strategic Assessment are:
- Areas added to the Urban Growth Boundary by planning scheme amendment VC68 (the 2010 Urban Growth Boundary)
- Areas in the Outer Metropolitan Ring/E6 Transport Corridor and the Regional Rail Link corridor
- Areas in the existing 28 urban precincts within the 2005 Urban Growth Boundary.
The Melbourne Strategic Assessment is the first of its kind in Australia to be submitted for Commonwealth Government approval.
The Commonwealth Government approved urban development in three of the growth corridors on 5 September 2013. These corridors are:
- Western growth corridor (Melton / Wyndham)
- North-Western growth corridor (Sunbury / Diggers Rest)
- Northern growth corridor (Hume / Whittlesea / Mitchell).
Approval was granted for urban development in the existing 28 urban precincts within the 2005 Urban Growth Boundary and for the development of a Regional Rail Link Corridor between Werribee and Deer Park on 8 July 2010.
No further approvals are required under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 for urban development in these areas, as long as development follows the Program Report and the conditions of approvals. This ensures that urban development proceeds in a way that protects matters of national environmental significance.
The Commonwealth Government approved urban development in the south-eastern growth corridor on 11 September 2014.
Approval is required from the Commonwealth Government for urban development in the south-eastern growth corridor and for the Outer Metropolitan Ring Transport Corridor / E6 Road Reservation.
The Victorian Government sought approval for urban development in the south-eastern growth corridor as a result of finalising the Sub-regional Species Strategy for the Southern Brown Bandicoot.
The Strategic Impact Assessment Report evaluated the impacts of the Victorian Government's urban development program on matters of national environmental significance. It also identified a range of conservation measures to mitigate the impacts of the program on these matters.
The report was submitted to the Commonwealth Environment Minister to support the endorsement process for the Program Report.
To access the Strategic Impact Assessment Report, visit the Publications web page.
Part of the agreement with the Commonwealth Government includes a range of commitments relating to conservation outcomes and mitigation measures. These commitments were made to ensure that urban development proceeds in a way that protects matters of national environmental significance.
These commitments are set out in the Program Report and include the establishment of the Western Grassland Reserves and a Grassy Eucalypt Woodland Reserve outside the Urban Growth Boundary.
The Program Report was endorsed by the Commonwealth Environment Minister on 2 February 2010.
To access the Program Report, visit the Publications web page.
Planning scheme amendment VC68
Planning scheme amendment VC68 gave effect to key aspects of the Victorian Government's urban development program. This includes:
- The expansion of the Urban Growth Boundary
- Public Acquisition Overlays for the proposed Western Grassland Reserves, the Regional Rail Link and the Outer Metropolitan Ring Transport Corridor/E6 Road Reservation.
The amendment was ratified by Parliament on 29 July 2010 and gazetted on 6 August 2010.
For more information on amendment VC68, visit the Department of Planning and Community Development's web site.
Growth Corridor Plans
The Growth Corridor Plans set the overarching, strategic planning framework to guide future development in the growth corridors over the coming decades.
They broadly identify the location of future residential, industrial and employment areas and open space networks and the likely strategic transport infrastructure required to support urban development.
The Growth Corridor Plans were released by the Victorian Minister for Planning on 13 June 2012.
For more information on the Growth Corridor Plans, visit the Growth Areas Authority's web site.
Melbourne Strategic Assessment: Department of Environment and Primary Industries Customer Service Centre on 136 186 (Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 6:00 pm).
Growth Corridor Plans and conservation strategies: contact the Growth Areas Authority on (03) 9651 9600 or visit the authority's web site.
Victorian Government urban development program: Department of Planning and Community Development on (03) 9208 3333 or visit the department's web site.