The Whittlesea Green Wedge Management Plan identifies a vision and recommends actions for the sustainable use of Whittlesea’s rural land.
While Whittlesea is a growing city with quickly expanding residential areas, more than 60 per cent of the municipality is still rural in nature. The rural or non-urban land beyond the Urban Growth Boundary is known as the Green Wedge and is currently protected from urban development (see Map 1).
The Whittlesea Green Wedge is home to productive agricultural land, scenic landscapes, heritage places, cultural heritage, rural living, National Parks, forests, waterways, reservoirs and nationally significant flora and fauna.
The Whittlesea Green Wedge holds a significant proportion of the unimpacted Cultural Heritage with many sacred and special places for the Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung people and Taungurung people providing the opportunity to celebrate and facilitate enhanced cultural practice.
Why do we need a plan?
It is a State Government requirement that all councils containing Green Wedge areas must prepare a Green Wedge Management Plan (GWMP) with a 10-year lifespan, informed by consultation with all relevant stakeholders including the community.
The GWMP 2023-2033 has been developed in partnership with the community, local businesses, government departments and other agencies using a two-stage community engagement process. The community consultation outcomes from Stage 1 and Stage 2 outline the nature and extent of engagement activities undertaken, as well as analysis of the community feedback received.
The GWMP is comprised of a Vision and Objectives under four of the Whittlesea 2040 goals being Sustainable Environment, Liveable Neighbourhoods, Strong Local Economy and Connected Communities, together with a set of Strategic Directions.
The GWMP 2023-2033 was adopted by Council on 21 February 2023. The previous GWMP 2011–2021 ended in 2021.
The Whittlesea Green Wedge will be recognised for its enhanced natural environment and celebrated cultural assets, for providing a productive and diversified local economy and ensuring the well-being benefits of this beautiful space are enjoyed by all.
The Whittlesea Green Wedge is home to a diverse range of native plants and animals, including native grasslands of national and state significance, River Red Gums, Grassy Eucalypt Woodland, and forested areas such as Kinglake National Park and Mount Disappointment State Forest.
Rural areas provide the majority of habitat for native species, and in some cases contain the only remaining vegetation community within the region.
Healthy natural environments and the ecosystem services they support are important for the prosperity and liveability for which Melbourne is renowned.
Significant landscapes include the flat agricultural landscape of the Plenty Valley, scattered River Red Gums and majestic Plenty Ranges that provide a scenic backdrop to Melbourne.
These rural and natural landscapes provide a sense of place whilst contributing to ecological values, supporting tourism and also being culturally significant.
The landscape qualities of the Green Wedge are a part of Melbourne's distinctive character appeal.
Areas of productive agricultural land support locally grown produce such as olives, wineries, berry farms and cheese products offered for sale at local markets.
Although a part-time pursuit for many residents, grazing and equestrian activities are also common.
Productive agricultural land is a finite resource and plays an important role in contributing to local food supply and making Melbourne a sustainable city.
In the Whittlesea Green Wedge, high value is placed on the quality of the rural landscape, contributing an essential liveability element.
The Whittlesea Green Wedge supports the upper and middle catchment areas of the Plenty River, Darebin Creek and Merri Creek.
This area contains several closed water supply catchments that contribute to Melbourne's water supply and is home to the Toorourrong and Yan Yean water storage reservoirs.
Waterways, wetlands and floodplains within the municipality provide valuable cultural, environmental, social and economic benefits for residents and visitors alike.
+ Communities and Settlements
The Green Wedge is highly valued for its liveability with many small rural settlements and areas of rural living.
The township of Whittlesea is the most significant, containing more than half of the rural population.
Many residents are attracted to the Green Wedge by the rural lifestyle and sense of community.
+ Aboriginal Culture
Before European colonisation, the Aboriginal people in the Wurundjeri Willam Clan inhabited the area and remain in this area today.
A small section of the Taungurung Land and Waters Council area is located in Kinglake West.
There are many sites of cultural significance throughout the Green Wedge associated with Aboriginal culture, such as scarred trees along waterways, stony rises, saddles and ridges.
These sites hold special meaning for the Traditional Owners and need to be sustained for the practicing culture of today and future generations.
+ Historical Heritage
Remnants of early European colonisation are present throughout the Green Wedge including farm homesteads, outbuildings, dry-stone walls and historic hedgerows.
The dry-stone walls are linked to historic land use practices, as well as the industry and skills of settlers and landowners.
Some walls were built in specific ways such as cultivations paddocks and dry-stone enclosures which may be unique in Victoria.
+ Tourism and Recreation
The Whittlesea Green Wedge supports a wide range of recreational pursuits, natural attractions and events.
Key attractions range from the Country Music Festival to the Whittlesea Agricultural Show.
Other attractions include farmers markets, golf courses, leisure recreation, local farm gate products, bushwalking, camping and horse-riding trails.
It is also home to various cultural landscapes, education sites or areas of significance for Traditional Owners.
All of these attractions and activities deliver important economic, social and environmental benefits to local communities and broader Melbourne.
+ Extractive Industry
There are two extractive industry operations (quarries) partly located within the Green Wedge.
Extractive industries play a fundamental role in supporting Melbourne's future development and prosperity.
While the GWMP promotes and encourages a balance of land uses, it does not change existing Green Wedge zones, nor recommend changes to the Urban Growth Boundary.
Green Wedge Champions
The Whittlesea GWMP is developed by Council in partnership with the community, local businesses, government departments and other agencies to guide the future of Whittlesea’s Green Wedge.
Council also recognises the great work by various community groups who also play a role in helping to take care of our Green Wedge areas. These are our ‘Green Wedge Community Champions’.
Find out more about one such Green Wedge Community Champion – the Darebin Creek Management Committee, by watching this video below:
As part of the Integrated Planning Framework, each of the Level 2 strategies will be accompanied by an Action Plan to run in two-year increments. Progress against the GWMP 2023–2033 will be reflected as part of these two-year Action Plans.
Translations of the draft Green Wedge Management Plan are available upon request.
Where can I view the GWMP?
The plan is also available to read at local libraries and at the Civic Centre Planning Counter.
Who can answer questions about my property in the Green Wedge?
Contact Planning Services on 9217 2236 to find out:
how you can use and develop your green wedge property
what requires a planning permit
what is prohibited
The plan is also available to read at local libraries and our Civic Centre offices.
State Government Green Wedge and Agricultural Land Review
The Victorian Government is carrying out a Green Wedge and Agricultural Land review and has released a consultation paper outlining proposed changes to strengthen the protection of Green Wedges and agricultural land.
In February 2021, Whittlesea Council endorsed a formal submission to the review. You can read the submission below.
Previous Green Wedge Management Plan 2011-2021 Achievements
There were 84 actions set out in the GWMP 2011–2021, and every one of them has now been commenced.
Of these actions, 49 have been completed, five are still underway and 30 are ongoing changes to the way we work, including networking with the local Aboriginal community and rural communities, providing business support to help keep farmers on the land, and partnering with community groups to better care for our waterways and environment.