Peri Urban Agriculture highlighted at MAV Conference

We were pleased to present to the MAV Rural and Regional Planning Conference on Thursday 29 June 2017. Jodi Kennedy (Bass Coast), Tim Waller (Golden Plain  and the Executive Officer, Paula Lawrence presented the challenges of rural land use planning in the peri urban context. Sadly Kylie Lethbridge was an apology.

Sincere thanks for Jodi and Tim for their time and expertise.

Update from Foodprint team

A quick media update from the Foodprint team.

Nine News aired a story recently – https://twitter.com/9NewsMelb/status/877449773086679040

The Herald Sun also ran an article as part of the Future Melbourne feature series


Population Taskforce Interim Report


The Oppositions Population Taskforce has released its interim report which principally recommends decentralisation to balance Melbourne’s growth.

The report notes that ” it has been estimated that to provide infrastructure to support a 50,000 person population increase in regional Victoria, it would cost $1 billion, compared with $3.1 billion to provide for the same increase in metropolitan Melbourne.

Key points from the report:

  • For decentralisation to be successful, proper planning for increased infrastructure, commensurate with
    population growth, is required.
  • Law and order was the second most frequent topic in submissions received by the Victorian Population Policy Taskforce.
  • Investment in faster, more frequent, and more reliable rail services is essential to enable the rebalancing of growth to regional Victoria.
  • Roads have long been a source of complaint and hazard in regional Victoria, and require attention, involving massive upgrades.
  • Throughout Victoria, there is concern about energy security and pricing. The unexpected speed of the closure of the Hazelwood power plant, wiping out over 20% of Victoria’s cost efficient energy generation has caused great concern to energy intensive businesses throughout the State. \
  • Consideration will also need to be given to generating new jobs and investment in regional Victoria.
  • Access to sufficient water supplies is critical for growth in regional areas, both for domestic use to cater for growing residential development and for business and agriculture. In irrigation regions, especially the Murray-Darling Basin, it is important to balance the needs of the environment with the irrigation sector, which supports thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of economic activity.
  • Population growth in regional cities and towns will require government investment in support services and infrastructure such as health, education, and community facilities.

Read the report 


The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is seeking targeted feedback from users of the Victorian planning system to inform the early stages of the Smart Planning program’s rules and policy reform.

Below is a link to a 10-minute survey that will inform priorities for reform. We ask that you distribute this email to all relevant staff/members to ensure the views of all users are represented.

The survey asks for technical feedback on specific clauses of the Victoria Planning Provisions that you believe require reform. While there will be other opportunities for engagement, this survey will be integral in informing the next 12 months of planning reform.

We appreciate the input of all participants and look forward to receiving
your responses by close of business, Monday 10th July 2017.

All information will be recorded anonymously.
For any enquiries please email smart.planning@delwp.vic.gov.au


ABS 2016 – Peri Urban Region Growing Strongly

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures were released last week. The figures show the Peri Urban region has grown strongly since the 2011 ABS. The region is now home to an additional 20, 000 people and has grown at an average annual rate of 1.96%. The Regional Cities’ growth remains lack luster, growing at just 1.22% with Latrobe and Wangaratta showing a declining population.

Many of the Interface Councils are still growing strongly recording an annual average growth rate of 2.96% and accommodating an additional 200,000 people in the region. Nillumbik recorded a decline in population.

Read more at – http://www.abs.gov.au/Population 

Infrastructure and Economic Development Strategy – Seeking Consultants

The Request for Quotes for the Infrastructure and Economic Development Strategy development will be released in the coming two weeks. This is a key piece of work for the PUGRC and will deliver a comprehensive strategy for the region.

Interested and experienced consultants are encouraged to register their interest to receive the RFQ by emailing the Executive Officer .

MAV Transport and Infrastructure Committee Update

The MAV Transport and Infrastructure Committee met on Thursday 1 June. The Committee received presentations from:

  • Kerry Thomson, Deputy Secretary Investment and Engagement at Transport for Victoria.
  • Stefan Hladenki, Senior Advisor from Infrastructure VIC regarding the second port advice provided to Government.

The Minutes will be shared separately.

Victorian Rural Drainage Strategy

A state-wide rural drainage strategy is being prepared by DELWP. The draft strategy is expected to be released for comment in the near future, with the final strategy released late in 2017. The strategy is expected to focus on the drainage of private land for economic productivity purposes.

The MAV believes there will be some positive reforms for landowners including opportunities for economic development streamlining of red and green tape (bureaucratic procedures related to environmental initiatives) and environmental improvements. It may also enable greater economic production from dryland agriculture than would otherwise be possible without drainage.

However, it is likely that Councils will be designated to take a greater role and may be the coordinating agency for rural drainage. The MAV’s approach is that where new roles are envisaged for Councils, they should be dealt with under the VIC State Local Government Agreement (VSLGA) and there should be a process involving Councils to reach agreement about their role.

The MAV is also concerned about the increased insurance risk and liability profile for Councils from this role. there are currently strict liability provisions for water flows that cause damage under section 16 of the Water Act.


Consideration for how new roles will be funded and resourced by Councils is critical for reaching agreement on Council responsibility in this matter. The MAV has formed a working group. the key contact is Rosemary Hancock

Streamlining for Growth Application

The PUGRC has submitted an application under the VPA’s Streamlining for Growth program.  we have sought the VPA’s formal involvement in the Infrastructure and Economic Development Strategy and $30,000 to match the PUGRC funding commitment.

Advocacy Update

  • Meeting with the Hon Jaala Pulford, Minister for Agriculture, Minister for Regional Development on 14 June 2017
  • Letter sent to Treasurer in February has been referred to the Minister for Local Government
  • Meeting with Danielle Green, MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Regional VIC – TBC
  • Meeting with David Davis, Shadow Minister for PLanning – TBC