The State Government declared the Bellarine Peninsula a ‘distinctive area and landscape’ (DAL) in 2019, recognising the threats urban development on the local coastal environment, unique green spaces, local producers and lifestyle.
That declaration resulted in a draft Statement of Planning Policy for the area being developed, to ensure identified significant landscapes, environmental and cultural values were protected.
Supporters of the policy however have expressed concern the government has not moved quickly enough to finalise it leaving the region open to the threat of inappropriate development.
Planning Minister Richard Wynne said referring the draft DAL to a standing committee would fast-track the process.
“This process is the best way to deliver a thorough investigation for this important area − ensuring the character of the Bellarine Peninsula is preserved while taking the views of the community into account,” Mr Wynne said.
“I want to make sure the character of the Bellarine Peninsula is protected as part of the Andrews Labor Government’s work to preserve our distinctive areas and landscapes.”
The draft policy was developed in collaboration with the Wadawurrung, the Borough of Queenscliffe, the City of Greater Geelong and following extensive consultation with community and industry.
Once finalised, it will guide the future use, development and management of land in the Bellarine Peninsula declared area over the next 50 years.
While many have welcomed the plan, some local businesses fear it will limit growth and cost thousands of jobs. Last year a consortium of 13 business owners wrote to the government asking it to reconsider the DAL’s proposed regulations.
the Independent Standing Committee will only consider submissions made to the panel’s earlier work on settlement boundaries and will undertake its review as a matter of urgency, Mr Wynne said.
“Delivering the final Statement to Planning Policy for Bellarine is a priority, and we will be acting with urgency to finalise it by mid-year.”