October 31, 2019BY Rebecca Adam
THE Bellarine Peninsula is now permanently protected from overdevelopment thanks to strengthened planning controls brought in by the Labor Government.
Minister for Planning Richard Wynne earlier this week declared the region a Distinctive Area and Landscape under the Planning and Environment Act 1987.
The declaration – which covers the entire peninsula – follows extensive consultation with local communities, council and Traditional Owners and ensures the unique features of this peninsula are recognised and prepared for long-term protection.
A Statement of Significance is included in the declaration, outlining the cultural, spiritual and heritage importance of the area to the Wadawurrung people.
Mr Wynne said these permanent protections would ensure locals and tourists alike could continue to enjoy the beautiful Bellarine Peninsula, while Bellarine MP Lisa Neville said the Bellarine community was well aware of the natural assets of the stunning peninsula and it was great to see what we loved about it being protected for future generations.
The move to provide lasting protection to the Bellarine comes after the Surf Coast was also declared a Distinctive Area and Landscape last month, and delivers on Labor’s state election commitment to protect these regions by balancing growth while preserving their distinctive features.
The Labor Government will now begin working on a Statement of Planning Policy setting out a 50-year vision for the region to guide development controls and settlement boundaries.
This will provide a framework to ensure the excellent beaches, coastal biodiversity, recreation and tourism attributes of the Bellarine continue to be of special significance.
For more information on Bellarine Distinctive Area and Landscape Declaration, head to engage.vic.gov.au/distinctive-areas-and-landscapes-program.