In August this year, steps were taken to finalise the Macedon Ranges Protection Plan, declaring the region as a Distinctive Area and Landscape.
The Andrews Labor government announced its plans for protective legislation for the Macedon Ranges region in February 2017 after previously appointing the Macedon Ranges Protections Advisory Committee (MRPAC) in 2015.
At the time of the announcement, Minister for Planning Richard Wynne identified the need to accommodate a growing population as well as protecting the region’s character.
“The Macedon Ranges has a significant past and we’re ensuring it has a promising future too,” he said.
Since then, the plan has been developed with input from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning; the Macedon Ranges Shire Council; the Victoria Planning Authority; the MRPAC, as well as local shire residents.
The plan will work in conjunction with a Localised Planning Statement and aims to ensure the aspects that make the Macedon Ranges unique, are protected.
With a major focus on the region’s environmental and cultural heritage, the government hopes the plan will maintain the region’s unique character, its reputation of renowned food and wine production and its attractive tourist destinations.
Member for Macedon, Mary-Anne Thomas has said this is a “landmark” initiative and “a Victorian first”.
“We are on the cusp of the most significant planning statement in the state.”
While the plan has generally received a positive audience, some residents are sceptical.
Macedon Ranges local Deb Dunn said “there’s no figures, no population growth, absolutely nothing that could alert the community as to what it means.”
Christine Pruneau, Macedon Ranges Residents Association Secretary, said she doesn’t think the plan follows the 12 recommendations of the MRPAC.
“It’s locking in growth, not protection,” she said.
The plan is scheduled to be released at the end of this year.
(Featured image: Avenue of Honour, Macedon. Photo: supplied)