Whittlesea City Council has thrown its support behind the Victorian Government’s plan to strengthen protection of agricultural land and the right to farm in green wedge areas.
Council has endorsed a formal submission to the State’s Green Wedge and Agricultural Land Review.
The submission supports proposals to strengthen green wedge areas; in particular protecting agricultural land.
Administrator, Bruce Billson said protecting Melbourne’s green wedge areas, which surround built-up urban area of Melbourne, was significant.
“Melbourne’s green wedges really are the ‘lungs’ of Victoria. They provide a range of benefits including environmental conservation, habitat, agricultural land, heritage protection, rural living, quality landscape, tourism and recreation,” he said.
“We are proud to have some of these important areas in the north of the City of Whittlesea. We know our residents value their local natural environment as do our agricultural producers and we are keen to ensure these areas continue to be preserved.
“There has been some concern from agricultural landowners about farm gate sales where sometimes the rules aren’t very clear. We’re recommending in our submission that there needs to be some clearer guidelines so that all farm gates sales in green wedge areas are considered the same across all municipalities.
“We’re also asking that an urban growth boundary be established around the Whittlesea Township so that any future growth and development can be managed appropriately.”
Council is also calling on the Victorian Government to progress its previous commitment to acquire 1200ha of land for a future ‘Grassy Eucalypt Woodland’.
The Grassy Eucalypt Woodland is made up of majestic Red River Gums and native grasses that Mr Billson said are the environmental hallmark of the City of Whittlesea.
“Unfortunately, the Grassy Eucalypt Woodlands are under threat due to some farming practices and urban development,” he said.
“As part of the 2008 Melbourne Strategic Assessment the Victorian State Government made a commitment to the Federal Government to secure 1200ha of Grassy Eucalypt Woodland Reserve by 2020. So far, no land within this reserve has been secured and urgent action is required.”
Council will soon invite feedback from the community on a review of its own Green Wedge Management Plan, which will look at how Council manages green wedge land in the City of Whittlesea within the Victorian Government’s framework.
Details on this review will be available on Council’s website in late February.