“Green wedges” are non-urban areas that surround the built-up urban areas of metropolitan Melbourne and are outside the urban growth boundary
The green wedges accommodate agricultural and recreational uses, as well as a variety of important functions that support Melbourne.
Melbourne’s planning policies have tried to protect the non-urban green wedges for fifty years, starting with Rupert Hamer as Minister for Local Government in 1966, and later as Liberal Premier 1972-81.
In October 2002 the government released “Melbourne 2030 – Planning for sustainable growth”, a 30 year plan to manage urban growth and development across metropolitan Melbourne. It aimed to protect the green wedges from inappropriate development and encourage proper management of these areas (policy 2.4), through a number of policy initiatives:
1. Implement new planning scheme provisions to secure the protection of metropolitan green wedges in the planning system (2.4.1)
2. Work with local councils to support the consolidation of new residential development into existing settlements in the green wedges, where planned services are available and relevant values can be protected (2.4.2)
3. Amend planning schemes affecting green wedges to ensure that recreation-type developments, such as golf courses with associated housing development, are only approved where they support Melbourne 2030 and local settlement policies (2.4.3)
4. Legislate to provide protection for areas of high environmental and scenic value in metropolitan green wedges such as Nillumbik, the Dandenong Ranges, the Yarra Valley, Westernport and the Mornington Peninsula (2.4.4)
The Nillumbik Council Plan 2009–2013 recognised the importance of the Green Wedge for the local economy. It supported actions to protect the environment and landscapes by encouraging appropriate economic development in the Green Wedge including tourism, food production and agriculture.
In addition, Nillumbik Council, though community consultation and research, produced the Nillumbik Green Wedge Management Plan 2010 to 2025.
The purpose of the Plan is to direct the sustainable management of the Nillumbik Green Wedge in relation to all strategic planning and use of the non-urban areas of the Shire.
The Nillumbik community has a strong attachment to the Nillumbik Green Wedge and is keenly interested in safeguarding this special place now and for future generations.
The Plan states that the Green Wedge will be secure and will be valued by the local and wider Melbourne community for its natural and cultural values. The future of the Nillumbik Green Wedge is one in which:
• natural and cultural values are conserved and enhanced
• bush and rural landscapes are conserved and enhanced
• the economic future is sound
• communities are strong, connected and supported and are knowledgeable about the Nillumbik Green Wedge
• local identity and diversity is respected and nurtured.
At the most recent elections a number of Councillors were elected on the basis of their purported support for the Green Wedge. Now they are backing away from this. The Green Wedge has disappeared from the Council’s five strategic objectives, which drive forthcoming annual budgets until July 2021.
Nillumbik shire was established in 1994 as a conservation shire with the Green Wedge as its strategic focus. It is fundamental to the shire’s identity and its responsibility. The current Councillors are ignoring their fundamental responsibility to care for the Nillumbik Green Wedge, the very basis of the shire’s establishment.