Looking After Melbourne’s Major Rivers

Looking After Melbourne’s Major Rivers

Victoria Minister for Planning Matthew Guy

Minister Acts To Protect Melbourne’s Two Major Rivers

Victor P Taffa

Planning Minister Matthew Guy has today announced major reforms to the State Planning Policy Framework to protect Melbourne’s two major river corridors from encroaching development.

Amendment VC96 to the Victoria Planning Provisions introduces state wide policy reform to protect the Yarra and Maribyrnong River corridors from inappropriate development. It will be gazetted on Monday 15 October 2012.

In addition, Mr. Guy has established a process for a staged approach that will see the corridors further protected across a number of municipalities and will clearly outline what can be built in areas that abut the river corridors.

“The Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers are Melbourne’s two iconic rivers and they deserve protection from inappropriate development.” Mr. Guy said.

“Protection of the Yarra and Maribyrnong river corridors will be a lasting civic legacy for future generations of all Victorians.”

“These planning reforms will provide the strongest ever level of planning protection for Melbourne’s two major river corridors by any state government.”

“These reforms are the most significant set of environmental protections within the state planning policy framework since the introduction of the Upper Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges Regional Strategy Plan in 1982.”

“VC96 is proof that while the previous government talked about river protection, the Victorian Coalition Government is prepared to act.” Mr. Guy said.

For the Yarra River the amendment is the first stage of a three stage approach to protecting these corridors. The first level of protection will apply to the City of Boroondara, with the second stages applying to the cities of Yarra, Stonnington and Banyule and the third and final stage applied to the City of Manningham and the Shire of Nillumbik.

Boroondara will have controls applied immediately due to the high level of strategic work already completed and the existing Environmental Significance Overlays already existing within the municipality.

The amendment includes mandatory height controls of 9 metres (two stories, plus attic), strict controls in relation to site coverage, vegetation removal, and drainage requirements as well as clearly discouraging development that intrudes on existing private and public open space
adjacent to the river.

The Coalition Government will also initiate strategic planning work to ensure the future of the Maribyrnong River is appropriately protected with similar controls to be examined and implementation expected in the first half of 2013. These controls would be considered for the municipalities of Maribyrnong, Moonee Valley, Brimbank and Hume.

The amendment also recognises the two rivers’ importance to Victoria through official state planning policy recognition of their environmental, landscape and cultural values as well as their aesthetic, open space, recreation and tourism assets.

Today’s announcement complements the Coalition Government’s $1 Billion worth of works over four years across the state’s waterways to improve the health of the Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay through the A Cleaner Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay plan.

The billion dollar plan launched last week by Environment Minister Ryan Smith has four key priorities such as:

  • Clearer, more responsive management;
  • Preventing pollution and reducing litter;
  • Providing user-friendly, accessible information;
  • Support for Victorians to care for and protect our iconic river and bay, including litter prevention and clean up.