Christine Pruneau, secretary, Macedon Ranges Residents Association
In 2014, the state government promised to legislate to protect Macedon Ranges “using Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 [the protective policy for Macedon Ranges since 1975] as the basis for legislative protection” and provide “the highest level of protection possible”.
MRRA said it would hold the government to its promise.
Delivered – the 2018 Distinctive Areas and Landscapes legislation, and 2018 Order (identifying attributes and threats to them) making Macedon Ranges a ‘declared area’ under that legislation.
Not delivered – the draft Statement of Planning Policy. Not finalised before the election, it abandons Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, ‘protects’ only significant vegetation, landscapes and heritage, and expands some town boundaries without process while not providing settlement boundaries for others.
Other government actions also undermine its promise to protect Macedon Ranges:
· Prohibitions and third party rights removed for pig and poultry farming in sensitive areas.
· Massive expansion of VicSmart applications – planning decisions made by CEOs, without notice.
· Neighbourhood Residential Zone – loss of ability to limit the number of dwellings on a single lot.
· General Residential Zone – mandatory default heights raised to 11 metres / three storeys
· Gisborne and Kyneton named in State policy as regional (growth) centres (only Macedon Ranges has two).
· Smart Planning – triggers extensive changes to the Macedon Ranges planning scheme that can be made without consultation.
· Amendment C110 – prohibitions removed and intensified rural living approved along the shire’s southern boundary.
MRRA acknowledges and appreciates the positive steps, but concludes that due to the failed draft Statement of Planning Policy, loss of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, and other undermining actions taken, the state government has not delivered the protection it promised Macedon Ranges in 2014.