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Rural Land Study

The broad objective of a Rural Land Study is to balance the zones available in the Victorian Planning Provisions to the needs of the key rural land uses: agriculture, biodiversity, tourism, natural resource use; recreation and cultural heritage, whilst allowing for flexibility and innovation, reducing future land use conflicts and avoiding fragmentation of land used for farming across the whole Shire.

The Rural Land Study has now being finalised and was adopted by Council on 11 February 2014.

The adopted Rural Land Study made a range of recommendations including:

• To retain the current 40 hectare minimum lot size for subdivision and for a dwelling without the need for a permit across the main broadacre farming areas of the Shire;
• To retain the Farming Zone over the Harcourt horticultural area including the current 40 hectare minimum lot size provisions;
• To undertake further work to investigate the potential for any wider application of the Rural Conservation Zone to recognise and protect biodiversity and landscape values;
• To undertake policy changes to the Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS) to recognise significant productive agricultural land in the Shire, and to protect water catchment resources; and
• To conduct further work to expand the application of the Environmental Significance Overlay for biodiversity protection and enhancement, and biological connectivity.

The Recommendations of the Rural Land Study can be read on pages 88-90. See link below.

Further information on the adopted Rural Land Study is available:
1. In hard copy from Council offices at the Civic Centre, Corner Lyttleton and Lloyd Streets, Castlemaine;
2. By post upon request by telephoning Council's Strategic Planning staff on 5471 1700; and
3. By reading the additional reports on this webpage.

The adopted Rural Land Study (January 2014) can be viewed here:

Future Directions Paper

The Rural Land Study Future Directions Paper (April 2013) can be viewed here:

Issues Paper

The Rural Land Study Issues Paper (February 2013) can be viewed here:

Background Information Paper

The Rural Land Study Background Information Paper (February 2013) can be viewed here:

What did the Rural Land Study seek to do?

The study sought to better understand the needs of agriculture, tourism, lifestyle and environment in the Shire. Constraints to the development of the Shire's rural land include:
• State legislation
• Land topography, water and soil
• Risk from bushfires and floods
• Environmental values
• Patterns of development
• Available infrastructure

Where does The Rural Land Study apply?

The Rural Land Study looked at rural land across the whole of the Mount Alexander Shire.

What zones apply to rural land in the Shire?

Rural land use and development is guided by the land use zones applied by the State Government to different areas in the Shire. In 2004 the State Government introduced a group of rural zones into Victoria replacing the then existing rural zones. These zones were reviewed in 2013. The Victorian Rural Zones are:
• Farming Zone
• Rural Activity Zone
• Rural Living Zone
• Rural Conservation Zone
• Green Wedge Zone
• Green Wedge A Zone

Not all of these zones are applied on land in the Mount Alexander Shire.

in 2005-2006 the State Government applied the Farming Zone across Victoria in a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Since this time, the Minister for Planning has reviewed and made changes to the Rural Zones. For more information about the Rural Zones, click here.

Who prepared and contributed to the Rural Land Study?

EnPlan Australia PL were engaged by Council to prepare the Rural Land Study. A range of State authorities (including water agencies) have contributed to the development of the Study. Valuable feedback received from the community at information sessions and via written submissions made to Council also contributed to the Rural Land Study.

What steps were undertaken in the process?

  • The following steps were undertaken in the process of developing the Rural Land Study:
  • A vision for rural land was identified;
  • A rural profile for the Shire was developed;
  • Existing Planning Scheme analysis was undertaken;
  • Existing land use and development patterns were identified;
  • Key Issues were canvassed with Mount Alexander Shire community members;
  • Information was verified through visiting locations;
  • Community information sessions and a community workshop were conducted;
  • Submissions were received and considered;
  • A Draft Rural Land Strategy was produced with recommendations;
  • A second round of public exhibition of the Draft Rural Land Study and community input was conducted in August 2013, prior to the draft Strategy being finalised;
  • The finalised Rural Land Study was adopted at a public Council Meeting on 11 January 2014.

What is the Next Step?

The adopted Rural Land Study recommendations will be incorporated into an amendment to review the Mount Alexander Planning Scheme in 2014. This future amendment will undergo a public exhibition period, where the community will have a further opportunity to comment on the proposed recommendations. This amendment is currently being prepared and will be undertaken in 2014.

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