New Victorian Urban Growth Boundary Proposed: Government Statements and Fast Facts

“In these tough economic times the Brumby Labor Government is taking action to ensure Melbourne’s housing remains the most affordable on the eastern seaboard,” Mr Madden said.

“Recent population forecasts indicate that it is vital to plan now for the future needs of growing communities in Melbourne’s west, north and south-east.

“Last December, the Government said it would expand the UGB to accommodate 284,000 more dwellings in growth areas to maintain housing affordability and manage population growth. Some 316,000 dwellings will also be located in Melbourne’s established areas.”

“Maintaining Melbourne’s liveability and safeguarding our future housing affordability depends on making good decisions about urban development and infrastructure now.

“We need more homes to accommodate our growing population, so we must plan now to give future growth areas communities access to the transport, jobs, education, goods and services, health facilities and open space they need and expect.
“That is why Delivering Melbourne’s Newest Communities brings together planning for future urban development with planning to create transport infrastructure and protect Victoria’s biodiversity,” he said.

The review of Melbourne’s Urban Growth Boundary has taken into consideration:
•    The principles and directions of Melbourne 2030;
•    Land development opportunities and constraints;
•    Public consultation feedback received in the early part of 2009;
•    Future land requirements; and
•    The need to set aside land for public purposes such as environmental protection and transport.

The proposed changes to the UGB will bring around 41,000 hectares of land into the metropolitan area, of which around 26,000 hectares is identified as being suitable for development, giving Melbourne at least 20 years supply of land.

Mr Madden reiterated the Brumby Labor Government’s position on the Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution (GAIC), saying the Government would only proceed with changes to the UGB if the GAIC is passed by the Victorian Parliament.

“It would be completely irresponsible for any government to open up new land for development in a revised UGB, without securing the revenue to pay for new schools, roads, community facilities and services, public transport and healthcare,” Mr Madden said.

“Our Government is not prepared to alter the UGB without implementing the GAIC – to do so would leave growing communities without infrastructure and only increase profits for developers.”

Mr Madden said detailed reports on the proposals are available and encouraged the community to make submissions about the proposed changes to the UGB.

“With the technical work required to identify the best location for the boundary now complete, we are seeking the community’s views on the changes we’re proposing,” he said.

“The Brumby Labor Government will carefully consider all submissions made through this process before it makes any final decision on changes to the Urban Growth Boundary or any of the other projects in the Delivering Melbourne’s Newest Sustainable Communities program.”

The new boundary will be in place by the end of the year.

Submissions close 17 July 2009. Further information about all of the Delivering Melbourne’s Newest Sustainable Communities projects, including maps, reports, and details of public information open days and the submissions process is available from or by calling 1800 090 789.



Melbourne’s rapid population growth requires a decisive, clear response from the Government that will:

• Create enough homes to meet the demands of our rapidly growing population;
• Ensure that infrastructure and services are ready to support communities as they grow;
• Support the transport needs of communities and businesses;
• Strengthen Melbourne’s affordability and liveability;
• Protect our city’s highly-valued open space and biodiversity; and
• Give people a wide choice of housing options.

Delivering Melbourne’s newest sustainable communities is part of the Government’s response to this growth. It integrates land-use and transport planning in Melbourne’s growth areas to ensure that the land and infrastructure needed by new communities is available as they grow.


Delivering Melbourne’s newest sustainable communities is a set of initiatives designed to support growing communities with essential road and transport
infrastructure and balance development needs with biodiversity protection.

Government agencies have worked together on an integrated package of long term land use and transport projects to manage the rapid increase in population
predicted in the growth areas of Melbourne. They are:

• Changes to the Urban Growth Boundary in Melbourne’s west, north and south-east;
• The twin-track Regional Rail Link (up to 50 kilometres) from west of Werribee to Southern Cross Station;
• The Outer Metropolitan Ring / E6 Transport Corridor between Werribee, Melton, Tullamarine and Craigieburn / Mickleham, and between the Metropolitan Ring Road in Thomastown and Donnybrook; and
• A Strategic Impact Assessment on Biodiversity across Melbourne, which will include the reservation of two areas of grasslands in Melbourne’s west.

This package of initiatives has responded to the directions of Melbourne @ 5 million to accommodate an additional 600,000 new dwellings in Melbourne, of
which 284,000 will need to be located in the growth areas. Most of this future growth will be in the north and west of Melbourne.

The program also addresses the need to service new communities with accessible, well-connected transport infrastructure as identified in The Victorian
Transport Plan.

An agreement with the Commonwealth Government to undertake a strategic assessment of the likely impact of the projects on matters of national environmental
significance has meant that biodiversity matters could be considered at a regional level.

The intention of integrating these project initiatives has been to manage Melbourne’s growth responsibly, maintaining affordability and liveability, and protecting biodiversity.

The Government has now released reports and information about all four projects, and is calling for public and community submissions before making final
decisions on each proposal. Submissions can be made until 17 July 2009.

Further information about Delivering Melbourne’s newest sustainable communities, including maps, reports, and details of public information open days
and the submissions process is available at or by calling 1800 090 789.

What ’s happening now ?

A letter has been sent to all land owners and occupiers who are likely to be affected by the projects advising them of the proposals and inviting them to seek more information and make a submission.

Maps showing the location of property boundaries in all areas affected by the projects can be found on

Information about the impact on specific properties is also available by calling 1800 090 789.

How can I get more information ?

For copies of the reports on each project, maps, fact sheets and background information go to or call 1800 090 789.

Eight public information open days will be held in the growth areas between 24 June 2009 and 4 July 2009. Copies of the documents will be available and
agency staff will be present to answer the questions of community members.

Who can ma ke a submission about these proposals. Anyone can make a submission. Submissions can be made about one or more of:

• The review of the Urban Growth Boundary;
• The proposed west of Werribee to Deer Park route section of the Regional Rail Link;
• The proposed route of the Outer Metropolitan Ring E6 Transport Corridor; and
• The recommendations of the strategic impact assessment into the impact on biodiversity of changing the Urban Growth Boundary, including the proposal to create two major grassland reserves in Melbourne’s west.

How can I make a submission?

Electronic submissions can be made at

Written submissions can be sent to:

Growth Areas Authority
PO Box 1166
Carlton Vic 3053

Written submissions can be hand delivered to:

Growth Areas Authority
Level 6, 35 Spring Street
Melbourne Vic 3000

What will the planing process for each of the proposals be?

Once submissions have closed, all submissions received will be considered before recommendations about planning scheme amendments are provided to the
Minister for Planning. The Government will then consider these recommendations and the process to be applied in the context of the need to provide for
Melbourne’s future development.

Where land needs to be acquired, compensation would be made in accordance with the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986.






1.1 The Parties to this Agreement are:

The Commonwealth of Australia, represented by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts and The State of Victoria, represented by both the Minister for Environment and the Minister for Planning.


2.1 By entering this agreement the Parties hereby revoke the previous agreement made under section 146(1) of the Act in relation to the assessment of impacts of the Program to revise Melbourne’s Urban Growth Boundary signed on 4 March 2009.

3.1 Unless stated otherwise in this Agreement, the definitions, meanings and terms in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 apply to this Agreement and its attachments.

3.2 In this Agreement:

Melbourne @ 5 Million means the report Melbourne 2030: a planning update – Melbourne @ 5 million as published by the State of Victoria in December 2008.

Minister means the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts or delegate.

The Program means the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) Review for Melbourne being undertaken by the State of Victoria and announced on 2 December 2008, for the
development of land, including transport infrastructure, within:

(i) the investigation areas shown in the Melbourne @ 5 Million Report (published by the State of Victoria in December 2008) including the subsequent extension to these areas as shown on the map at Attachment A; and

(ii) areas inside the existing UGB for which a planning scheme amendment to introduce a Precinct Structure Plan has not commenced to be exhibited or does not remain on exhibition under sections 17-19 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic) as at 26 May 2009, as indicated on the map at Attachment A, and as definitively shown on the Growth Areas Authority map no. 3356/6, dated 26 May 2009.

(iii) areas in the Outer Metropolitan Ring Transport Corridor, the E6 Transport Corridor and the Regional Rail Link Corridor between West Werribee and Deer Park discussed in the Victorian Transport Plan (published by the State of Victoria on 8 December 2008) as shown on the Map at Attachment A.

The proposed detailed components of the Program will be set out in the Delivering Melbourne’s Newest Sustainable Communities Report to be published in 2009 and other relevant documents, as they relate to the above areas. The final detailed components of the Program will be set out in a document which the State of Victoria will provide to the Minister for his consideration.

The Act means the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth). Working days means a business day as measured in Canberra, ACT.

3.3 In this Agreement references to the singular include the plural.


4.1 The Parties agree that the areas and land associated with the Program have significant environmental values and significant environmental, social and economic values may be derived from implementing the Program.

4.2 Recognising those significant environmental values, the Parties commit to undertake an assessment of impacts of actions under the Program on all matters protected by Part 3 of the Act.


5.1 Section 146(1) of the Act allows the Minister to agree in writing with a person responsible for the adoption or implementation of a policy, plan or program that an assessment be made of the impacts of actions under the policy, plan or program on a matter protected by a provision of Part 3 of the Act. This Agreement is made pursuant to Section 146(1) of the Act.

5.2 The Melbourne @ 5 Million plan has identified environmental constraints to outward growth outside the current UGB (Attachment A).

5.3 The development of land for urban use within the areas covered by the Program will be subject to the State of Victoria Precinct Structure Planning process. Individual projects such as the Outer Melbourne Ring Road and Regional Rail Link identified in the Victorian Transport Plan will be subject to environment assessment and planning approval processes under Victorian law. In addition to requirements under the Act, the removal of native vegetation and associated habitats for urban expansion and major transport infrastructure will be subject to requirements for impact avoidance, minimisation and offsetting under the State of Victoria’s Native Vegetation Management Framework.


6.1 The Parties may consult and agree to undertake the assessment of the impacts of the Program by assessing individual stages which, taken together, collectively make up the Program. Where the Parties agree on this approach, each stage will be assessed in accordance with section 146(2) of the Act and this Agreement.

6.2 If a staged assessment is required the Minister may issue a staged endorsement in accordance with clause 6.1.

6.3 The strategic assessment of any stage will form a discrete component of the Program, however any endorsement decisions will take into account the cumulative impacts of the entire Program.

6.4 Where a stage of the Program is assessed, this Agreement and Terms of Reference (Attachment B) shall be used.

6.5 Where a staged assessment is determined as necessary by the Parties, the public shall be notified by means of a public notice made available:

(a) on the websites of the Growth Area Authority and the Department of Sustainability and Environment
(b) published in newspapers circulating nationally and in Victoria.


7.1 This agreement provides for Terms of Reference (Attachment B) for a report on the impacts of the Program and consideration of the report by the Minister.


8.1 The State of Victoria will cause a Draft Report to be prepared in accordance with this Agreement and the Terms of Reference (Attachment B).

8.2 The State of Victoria shall provide the Draft Report for public comment by notice:

(a) posted on the websites of the State of Victoria, the Growth Area Authority and the Department of Sustainability and Environment
(b) published in newspapers circulating nationally and in Victoria.

The notice must advise that the Draft Report is available and how copies may be obtained, provide contact details for obtaining further information, invite public comments on the Draft Report and set a period of at least 28 days within which comments must be received. The Draft Report will be advertised for comment concurrent with the Delivering Melbourne’s Newest Sustainable Communities Report. This notice should occur by the agreed date specified in Attachment D.

8.3 The Parties may each notify interested parties of the notice in paragraph 8.2 and of the availability of the Draft Report.

8.4 The State of Victoria will prepare a Revised Draft Report, or a Supplementary Report to the Draft Report, taking account of the comments received.


9.1 Following the closure of public consultation period for the Draft Report, the State of Victoria will submit to the Minister:
(a) the Final Report, comprised of

(i) the amended Draft Report or
(ii) the Draft Report and a Supplementary Report (clause 8.4)

(b) any amended version of the Delivering Melbourne’s Newest Sustainable Communities Report, or any report supplementary to it
(c) public responses relating to the Draft Report
(d) comments on how the public responses have been taken into account in the

Final Report.

Submission of items in clause 9.1 should occur by the agreed date specified in Attachment D.

9.2 The Minister will consider the Final Report and:

(a) The Minister may make recommendations to the State of Victoria, as he considers appropriate, regarding the Final Report and implementation of the
(b) The State of Victoria may provide the Minister with advice, or seek clarification from the Minister on recommendations in subclause (a)
(c) The State of Victoria will provide to the Minister a summary of the recommendations, advice or clarification in subclauses (a) and (b), and how they
are incorporated into the Final Report and how modifications to the implementation of the Program will take effect
(d) The Minister will consider the reports and other materials referred to in this clause and may accept the Final Report or request further information or
clarification if not satisfied that it addresses adequately the impacts of the actions to which this Agreement relates.


10.1 The Minister will endorse the Program if satisfied the Report adequately addresses the impacts to which this Agreement applies and:

(a) that any recommended modifications to the Program, or modifications having the same effect have been made
(b) the endorsement criteria set out in Attachment C are met.


11.1 The Minister may approve, or approve with conditions, the taking of an action or class of actions in accordance with the endorsed Program, this Agreement and section 146B of the Act.


12.1 The parties may vary this agreement by an exchange of letters of electronic communications to the extent only that such variation is consistent with the provisions of the Act.


Terms of Reference for Strategic Assessment of the Program to revise Melbourne’s Urban Growth Boundary




The Report, as referred to in clause 8 of the Agreement, must describe the Program (or stage of), including:

(a) how the Program has been developed and its legal standing
(b) the basis of land/asset tenure for all land within the scope of the Program
(c) the regional context (natural and human) in which the urban area will exist
(d) the actions or classes of actions that are subject of the Program, including the short, medium and long term aspects of the actions or classes of actions at or associated with the Program. These could include relevant construction and operational aspects associated with proposed urban development and associated infrastructure
(e) the management and approval arrangements of the State of Victoria and the person(s) or authority responsible for the adoption or implementation of the


2.1 Planning for and promoting ecologically sustainable development

The Report must describe the planning and design process that has led to the Program, with particular reference to the treatment of environmental and cultural heritage through assessment and selection of options that maximise environmental, social and economic outcomes.

The Report must state how the Program promotes the following principles of ecologically sustainable development:

a) decision making processes should effectively integrate both long-term and short term economic, environmental, social and equitable considerations
b) if there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation
c) the principle of inter-generational equity – that the present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations
d) the conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity should be a fundamental consideration in decision-making
e) improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms should be promoted.

2.2 Environment affected by the Program

The Report must provide a detailed description of the environment likely to be affected by the implementation of the Program. This includes the environment beyond the identified growth and planning areas that could be affected by the proposed development for example, through the construction of any major infrastructure associated with the development, the offsite impacts from stormwater management measures (e.g. inundation and flow effects from water quality control dams/ponds/wetlands), or ‘edge effects’ such as weed introduction, pollution and feral animals.

This description must identify the listed environmental and heritage assets and characteristics, including biophysical processes associated with the area set to be affected by the Program and the surrounding terrestrial, riparian and aquatic environments likely to be directly or indirectly impacted, including:
(a) components of biodiversity and maintenance of important ecological processes
(b) listed threatened and migratory species under the Act and their associated habitats
(c) a description of ecological communities including but not limited to their connectivity, extent, and condition with specific reference to threatened ecological communities as listed under the Act and other significant ecological communities for example, the natural temperate woodlands of the Victoria Volcanic Plain and grassy wetland communities
(d) any physical environmental processes (e.g. fire, flooding/inundation) influencing the environmental characteristics of the site or surrounds, or influencing the potential impacts on the site or surrounds, including the impacts on any Ramsar sites
(e) places listed on the Commonwealth and National Heritage Lists.


3.1 Nature and significance of impacts

The Report must include sound analysis of the potential and likely impacts on the environment of the Program (Item 2.2) with specific reference to matters of national environmental significance, areas of high biodiversity and heritage values listed under the Act.

The analysis must include:

(a) areas or matters likely to be eligible for listing as matters of national environmental significance
(b) a description and analysis of likely and potential impacts, including any indirect impacts on matters of national environmental significance – with reference to relevant Policy Statements, for example the EPBC Act Policy Statement 1.1 Significant Impact Guidelines
(c) an analysis of applicable key threatening processes as defined in the Act
(d) an assessment of whether identified impacts will be short, long term or irreversible, local or regional, discrete or cumulative, or exacerbated by the likely impacts of climate change
(e) an assessment of the scientific confidence associated with the likelihood and consequence(s) of potential impacts, including reference to technical data and other information relied upon in identifying and assessing those impacts.

3.2 Management, mitigation or offset of likely impacts

The Report must identify and describe the management measures of the State of Victoria (e.g. works, on-ground actions, regulatory interventions, area-specific management plans, market based instruments, compliance and enforcement requirements) that will be implemented prior, during or post Program implementation to prevent, minimise, rehabilitate or offset the potential environmental impacts caused by implementing the actions or classes of actions (Item 1(d)) with specific reference to matters of national environmental significance under the Act.

For these management measures the Report must set out:

(a) the approach taken to addressing the impacts of the actions or classes of actions
(b) the predicted effectiveness of the proposed measures and actions. Claims regarding effectiveness of measures and actions must be justified, including a
description of the methodology used to formulate these predictions/confidence limits
(c) maintenance or operational requirements associated with proposed management measures
(d) compliance and enforcement requirements associated with proposed condition requirements
(e) the Victorian agency or agencies responsible for each management measure including the budgetary, regulatory and anticipated or proposed programmatic
arrangements to implement measures and actions, compliance and enforcement and maintenance or operational requirements
(f) timelines and accountabilities for implementing proposed measures and actions, and associated compliance and maintenance requirements
(g) proposed offsets in the context of evolving or approved policy, for example the Commonwealth Draft Policy Statement: Use of environmental offsets under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, August 2007.

3.3 Addressing uncertainty and managing risk

The Report must identify key uncertainties associated with the implementation of management measures, for example where there is a high level of uncertainty related to the timing and nature of management measures, or their maintenance or operation.

For key uncertainties the Report must set out:

(a) responses by the State of Victoria to ensure an acceptable level of certainty and therefore actively manage risks associated with implementing the actions or classes of actions (Item 1(d))
(b) how and when measures and actions will be reviewed in light of anticipated new information.

3.4 Reasonable assurance

The Report must include a “reasonable assurance statement” that gives a high degree of confidence that the management measures will be implemented and that the actions or classes of actions (Item 1(d)) will not have a significant impact on matters of national environmental significance.


The Report must set out:

(a) monitoring and public reporting processes, effective during the development period that describe the implementation and associated management measures
and condition requirements
(b) commitments for independent auditing of Program implementation.


The Report must identify and analyse the likely circumstances and procedures that may result in the review or modification of the report itself or the Program to which it relates, such that changing community standards or new information relating to the impacts of the Program may be introduced, reassessed and accounted for in implementing the Program. The Report must also show how uncertainty is being targeted and addressed during Program implementation.


The Report must describe how the Program together with any associated management arrangements, meets the criteria set out in Attachment C (Endorsement Criteria).


For information used in the assessment, the Report must state:

(a) the source of the information
(b) how recent the information is
(c) how the reliability of the information was tested
(d) uncertainties in the information.


Strategic Assessment Endorsement Criteria

When deciding whether to endorse a policy, plan, or program the Minister must be satisfied that the assessment report adequately addresses the impacts to which the agreement relates and that any recommendations to modify the policy, plan or program have been responded to appropriately.

In determining whether or not to endorse the Program the Minister will have regard to the extent to which the Program meets the objectives of the Act. In particular that it:

• protects the environment, especially matters of national environmental significance
• promotes ecologically sustainable development
• promotes the conservation of biodiversity
• provides for the protection and conservation of heritage.

Accordingly, the Program and Final Report should:
• incorporate mechanisms which prevent actions from being taken in any location that have an impact on matters of national environmental significance or are of high biodiversity or heritage value; or
• provide that where impacts can not be avoided, then the impacts should be less than significant
• provide for effective management, mitigation or offset of the likely impacts
• contain an effective system of adaptive management that is independently audited and publicly reported.

The Minister will also consider the extent to which the Program and its associated Final Report adequately incorporates:
• the precautionary principle
• the other principles of ecologically sustainable development
• intergenerational equity
• matters the Minister considers to have a high likelihood of being potentially eligible for listing as matters of national environmental significance.

Agreed Dates for Melbourne Strategic Assessment Program Delivery Draft Report provided for public comment as per clause 8.2 of the Agreement – 18 June,

Revised Final Report sent to the Minister as per clause 9.1 of the Agreement – COB 14 August, 2009.

Both Parties reserve the right to request a renegotiation of the agreed timeframe and dates for the assessment. The agreed dates may be altered by either Party to the extent only that such variation is consistent with the provisions of the Act.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of