Moorabool’s 2041 Growth Initiative sets future agenda

Moorabool Shire Council in Victoria has adopted important new policy statements to guide the preparation of the Shire’s future urban and rural development. 

The two documents — the ‘Council Urban Growth Policy Statement’ and the ‘Council Rural Growth Policy Statement’ — cover future growth considerations and consolidate Council’s policy work to date.

Over a number of years Council has undertaken a series of strategic planning projects. Council is also undertaking specific land use planning initiatives, some of which are at the Planning Scheme Amendment stage.

Moorabool Shire Council CEO, Rob Croxford, said, “From an overall Shire-wide growth management perspective, the preparation of new and consolidated policies to provide direction for future development in the Shire was critical.

“The new policy statements are the product of a lot of hard work and will provide guidance for Phase Two of the Moorabool 2041 strategic planning project.

“This enables Council to get to a point where it can draw a line in the sand from the past and provide a solid policy platform for the new Council to embrace and develop further in consultation with the community.”

The new growth policy statements were developed after deliberation by recently created committees of Council, specifically set up to identify strategic planning priorities relevant to Moorabool Shire.

The Rural Growth Strategy Committee and the Urban Growth Strategy Committees analysed settlement development patterns and impacts against the existing strategic planning policy and legislation and consolidated them into a more targeted policy statement.

These policy statements will inform Council’s development of an overarching settlement strategy, Moorabool 2041, and be considered in future Council decisions in the interim.

Chair of the Rural Growth Strategy Committee, Councillor Tom Sullivan, believes the policy statement was timely.

“This policy statement is very important in the context of development in rural areas. It’s a visionary document that provides a direction for future development in rural areas of Moorabool Shire.” 

Chair of the Urban Growth Strategy Committee, Cr Michael Tudball was confident the work done by the special committee provides great impetus to the next Council and the continuing development of the Moorabool 2041 project.

“Our Committee was charged with assessing the development and growth challenges of larger centres like Bacchus Marsh and Ballan. The new policy statement provides a vision of how the current council and community see urban growth developing and sets up the framework and engagement process for the new council to pursue in consultation with the community in 2013.”

Moorabool Mayor Cr Pat Griffin said the policy statements gave the basis by which council could respond to requests for submissions from regional and State planning agencies.

“Council’s submission the State Government’s Reform Zones for Victoria initiative will be based on the directives within the new Rural and Urban growth policy statements. In fact we’ve already used this work as the basis of a submission regarding the Central Highlands Regional Growth Plan.”

With Phase One of Moorabool 2041 complete, Phase Two – the development of a more specific and detailed strategic plan to provide the roadmap for implementing proposed changes to the Moorabool Planning Scheme, will commence once the new Council is elected in October.

Mr Croxford said the community were “A crucial part of the verification process when Council develops the strategic planning documents in Phase Two and I look forward to engaging the community on the development of the growth policies.”