MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire Council has formally resolved to ask the state government to create a new ‘Peri-Regional’ status for the Mornington Peninsula.
They believe the new status would “unlock the funding streams and benefits of a regional classification, while preserving access to metropolitan funding programs and safeguarding our cherished Green Wedge planning protections.”
Council has joined forces with Yarra Ranges Shire to argue for the new ‘Peri-Regional’ status in recognition of the unique rural and urban character of each Shire.
The Green Wedge is currently protected under the Planning and Environment (Metropolitan Green Wedge Protection) Act 2003 (‘MGWPA’).
Removal from a “metropolitan Melbourne” designation without a legislative change to protect the Green Wedge in a ‘Peri-Regional’ area could potentially see the peninsula fall outside of the purview of the existing legislation.
Specifically, s 46AA of the MGWPA lists Mornington Peninsula Shire as part of the “metropolitan fringe planning scheme” and s 46AC of the MGWPA defines what “green wedge land” is as “land that is described in a metropolitan fringe planning scheme as being outside an urban growth boundary”.
The pursuit of a ‘Peri-Regional’ designation without legislative change appears to open the door for the development of the Mornington Peninsula “Green Wedge” and could result in extensive planning scheme challenges in VCAT by developers and rural landholders attempting to make huge windfalls without consideration of their impact on future generations.
Mornington Peninsula mayor, Anthony Marsh said “we share the community’s concern that our current metropolitan status does not recognise the unique character of the Mornington Peninsula and leaves us disadvantaged in many ways.”
“The advantage of a ‘Peri-Regional’ status is that it would not require legislative change. It simply calls for the peninsula to be allowed access to regional funding streams and programs, while maintaining the benefits and Green Wedge protections that a metropolitan classification brings.
“We want to safeguard our Green Wedge planning controls while gaining access to regional funding programs that would unlock the economic potential of our region.
“In the coming months we will be pursuing these priorities vigorously with both the state and federal governments, as well as all election candidates.”
‘Peri-Regional’ status was one of six top advocacy priorities adopted by council at Tuesday’s council meeting. The priorities are:
- ‘Peri-Regional’ status for the Mornington Peninsula
- Access to recycled water to boost local food production and increase resilience to climate change and bushfires
- Support for a performing arts theatre and creative arts precincts
- Funding to improve mobile phone and data coverage across the Peninsula
- More support to manage our coasts, build resilience to climate change and protect local beaches and piers
- Funding to realise the full potential of the Peninsula Trail shared path network