Bass Coast Shire Council will lodge a submission with the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP) on the draft Statement of Planning Policy, outlining its concerns.
The submission was prepared in response to the final stage of public consultation for the Victorian Government’s Distinctive Areas and Landscapes Program for Bass Coast.
Through this program, the entire municipality of Bass Coast has been declared a ‘distinctive area and landscape’ and as part of this declaration, the Minister for Planning was required to prepare a Statement of Planning Policy (SPP).
In particular, Council’s submission identifies opportunities to:
- Further achieve greenhouse gas reduction and strive for zero net emissions by introducing new binding objectives and strategies to the Climate Change Mitigation and Adaption policy domain
- Protect regionally significant landscapes alongside state significance landscapes in the Bass Coast Planning Scheme
- Elevate the protection of native vegetation cover and the natural environment, particularly where an area has been identified as an area of interest for extractive resources (e.g. sand mining)
- Fully understand the land use requirements for employment and residential land use across the Shire before implementing protected settlement boundaries
Bass Coast Shire Mayor Cr Michael Whelan said that while Council welcomes the Distinctive Areas and Landscapes work that the Government has undertaken, there are several areas in which the policy can be strengthened to ensure its effective implementation.
“We acknowledge that the preparation of the SPP is an important step in further protecting the valued attributes of Bass Coast. It is crucial that this Policy safeguards our beautiful environment, which is the cornerstone of our regional economy,” Cr Whelan said.
“Despite the power of work that has been done by the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP), Council has had a limited time to respond and would like to get further work done before locking in town boundaries.
“It is important to get this right and ensure we understand the full implications of the recommendations to be put before the Minister.”
Cr Whelan said Council would like to see the township boundaries at Cape Paterson and Newhaven referred to a Planning Panel.
“This will allow DELWP to further explore the issues involved and the best way to protect the environment as well as understand the economic and social implications of protecting these boundaries,” Cr Whelan said.
“We would also welcome the opportunity meet with the Minister for Planning to discuss and resolve our concerns surrounding the draft SPP, prior to its finalisation and endorsement.”