Kim McGough – Manager, Barwon South West, Regional Planning Services – within the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) spoke to February’s PCA meeting.


His theme was to brief the community on the State Government’s pre-election pledge to declare the Bellarine a ‘distinctive area and landscape’ under the Planning and Environment Amendment – Distinctive Areas and Landscapes – Act 2018.

You can find more detail in the February meeting minutes, but these were his main points:

  • The Government’s pledge is to make the Declaration within the first 12 months of this term of office, but he thought we should realistically expect the whole process to take about two years
  • The main stages – Government makes the Declaration, develops a planning policy draft (which is, in effect, a statement of intent, with a 50 year vision), gains Ministerial approval and then ‘gazetting’ occurs –finally becoming law
  • We have a precedent in Macedon Ranges – the first region to be included – now at the stage of planning policy draft Council and community consultation. There, the Macedon Ranges Shire Council has not been happy with all aspects of the draft – click here to see the statement.
  • Importantly, there will be plenty of opportunity for the community to be involved. This is really important, given the Bellarine-wide concern about development and planning issues.

If we respond as we did (or didn’t?) to the 2014 Bellarine Localised Planning Statement, and the 2016 Portarlington Structure Plan, we will miss a great opportunity to influence Portarlington’s future.