Cardinia Farmland Protection and Advocacy

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Group effort: VFF Cardinia branch members beside land at Nar Nar Goon bought by a developer. From left: Tony and Sue Morgan, Wynsome and Ian Anderson, Rosemary Osborne, Margaret and John Kingman, David and Sue Young, Ron Hurren, Cathryn Brewster and Geoff Barmley.

Image: Weekly Times Picture: Andy Rogers

Protecting Melbourne’s Strategic Agricultural Land' (aka SAL) - REPORT RELEASED

This is a DELWP project (Dept of Planning) that has a current project that is planning for Melbourne’s Green Wedges and Agricultural Land use future. In September 2019, an independent consultation findings report was released, summarising the public meetings and submissions received.

For the State Government's land use planning review details, please read: https://engage.vic.gov.au/protecting-melbournes-ag-land

The Strategic Agricultural Land (SAL) review, directly relates to the Cardinia Community Food Strategy’s document, in the key area “No.1: Protecting and utilising fertile land as a source of fresh food for current and future generations; and the related priority actions”. (See page 18 Cardinia Shire Community Food Strategy 2018−26, for details)

What has been SAL's timeline?

Between 12 March 2019 to 17 May 2019, the project was open to community consideration and comment to the State Government.

The focus of this engagement process was to introduce the project to all Victorians, test the draft criteria with stakeholders and community members, and start a conversation about what the planning response should achieve.

In September 2019, an independent consultation findings report was released, summarising the public meetings and submissions received.

To read the feedback details of the report, click here.

Key engagement findings (to date):

  • It was made clear through the engagement that Melbourne’s green wedge and peri-urban areas are valued by the community for their agricultural land, natural landscapes and biodiversity. Over 90 per cent of participants indicated that they understand why strategic agricultural land in the green wedge and peri-urban areas should be protected. There were also some consistent messages raised by participants regarding the overall project approach, as outlined below. 

  • Planning controls are only one part of the solution.  Much of the feedback received through the project discussed outcomes that a planning response cannot solely deliver. For example, ongoing support for farmers and for future farmers was consistently raised.

  • Land conditions are not static. Many participants expressed concern about basing the assessment on current land uses and conditions. Comments illustrated how land conditions can change over time and that the focus needs to be on how we can make land productive in the longer-term.

  • Is this project thinking long-term enough? There were many comments expressing the desire for all agricultural land to be considered strategic. This was often raised in relation to whether enough agricultural land was being protected to meet the needs of a growing population.

  • Regarding the draft criteria, participants were positive overall in their feedback, but many comments suggested opportunities for further refinement. When asked whether the proposed criteria will effectively determine whether agricultural land is strategic now and in the future 48per cent agreed or strongly agreed (compared to 28 per cent who disagreed or strongly disagreed). However, there was a high proportion (24 per cent) who were unsure. 

What next?

Follow the project timeline, by joining the conversation about strengthening protection for Melbourne's green wedges and agricultural land to ensure these areas are protected for future generations at https://engage.vic.gov.au/protecting-melbournes-ag-land.

Map of the Yarra Valley and Yarra and Dandenong Ranges Green Wedge Area

Map of the Southern Ranges Green Wedge Area

Map of Westernport Green Wedge Area
Images: DELWP