The Andrews Labor Government will work with the local community in Christmas Hills to preserve around 280 hectares of native land in the area.
Minister for Water Lisa Neville today announced the Labor Government’s intention to return the land, owned by Melbourne Water, back to the Crown.
The move would expand the vital Warrandyte-Kinglake Nature Conservation Reserve and ensure the protection of the Christmas Hills Hall and Rob Roy Hill Climb route.
The announcement is in addition to 700 hectares of Melbourne Water-owned land in the Christmas Hills area that was previously set aside for conservation purposes.
The return of this land would mean the historic Rob Roy Hill Climb and the amenities that support the enjoyment of the Christmas Hills Community Hall would be preserved – guaranteeing these important assets continue to be used for community benefit, under separate committees of management.
Melbourne Water is proposing the removal of an existing Public Acquisition Overlay for an additional 300 hectares of privately-owned land in Christmas Hills and Smiths Gully to provide further certainty for local landholders.
Minister Neville has asked Melbourne Water to undertake further engagement as part of the development of its Christmas Hills Master Plan, to ensure the use of surplus land in the area benefits the community.
This will include further consultation with Nillumbik Shire Council and investigating further opportunities to update and consult with stakeholders and the community.
As noted by Minister for Water Lisa Neville
“We look forward to working with Melbourne Water and the local community to give certainty for landowners and the public about the future use of land in this area.”
As noted by Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green
“We have a once in a generation opportunity to protect and enhance this important asset – so we want the Christmas Hills community to have their voices heard as part of this process.”
As noted by Member for Eltham Vicky Ward
“The Christmas Hills area is an important space for local families and it’s appropriate this land is returned so all in the community can enjoy it.”