Green Wedge Management Plan Review

Image of city and hills

Nillumbik Shire Council is asking the community to help it prepare a new Green Wedge Management Plan to guide the future of our iconic rural areas, the ‘Green Wedge’, which covers some 91 per cent of the Shire. We’re asking: ‘What is the best way for us to manage Nillumbik’s Green Wedge, now and in the future?’

Everything we heard through the community engagement phase has been summarised in a Community Engagement Report.

A Community Panel made up of 39 randomly selected members from the community sat for six days from August to November to hear about and consider the many issues impacting the management of the Green Wedge.

The Panel’s recommendations

The Panel's recommendations report was officially presented to Council at the November Council Meeting on 27 November. Minority Report #1 was not accepted by Council, details of which can be found under “Latest News.”

Next Steps

At the Council Meeting on 18 December, Council will consider and respond to each recommendation in the Panel's report. The accepted recommendations will shape Council’s preparation of a new GWMP. If Council does not accept a recommendation, an explanation will be provided.

In February 2019, Council will consider the draft GWMP and give the go ahead for community consultation on the draft plan. Engagement will run for six weeks, from early March to mid-April, allowing all members of the community the opportunity to provide feedback on the draft plan.

GWMP Bulletin 3

The third GWMP Bulletin is now available. The Bulletin provides an update on the project, summarising the project to date, and what the next steps will be.

Keep up to date with what's happening by checking the regular updates on "Latest News" below.

Nillumbik Shire Council is asking the community to help it prepare a new Green Wedge Management Plan to guide the future of our iconic rural areas, the ‘Green Wedge’, which covers some 91 per cent of the Shire. We’re asking: ‘What is the best way for us to manage Nillumbik’s Green Wedge, now and in the future?’

Everything we heard through the community engagement phase has been summarised in a Community Engagement Report.

A Community Panel made up of 39 randomly selected members from the community sat for six days from August to November to hear about and consider the many issues impacting the management of the Green Wedge.

The Panel’s recommendations

The Panel's recommendations report was officially presented to Council at the November Council Meeting on 27 November. Minority Report #1 was not accepted by Council, details of which can be found under “Latest News.”

Next Steps

At the Council Meeting on 18 December, Council will consider and respond to each recommendation in the Panel's report. The accepted recommendations will shape Council’s preparation of a new GWMP. If Council does not accept a recommendation, an explanation will be provided.

In February 2019, Council will consider the draft GWMP and give the go ahead for community consultation on the draft plan. Engagement will run for six weeks, from early March to mid-April, allowing all members of the community the opportunity to provide feedback on the draft plan.

GWMP Bulletin 3

The third GWMP Bulletin is now available. The Bulletin provides an update on the project, summarising the project to date, and what the next steps will be.

Keep up to date with what's happening by checking the regular updates on "Latest News" below.

  • Council receives the Community Panel's Report

    12 days ago

    At the 27 November Council Meeting, Council passed the motion:

    That Council

    1. Receives the recommendations prepared by the Green Wedge Management Plan Community Panel, including Minority Report #2.
    2. Requests officers prepare a response to all recommendations for consideration at the December 2018 Council meeting.

    Council has decided not to consider Minority Report #1 and it has been removed from the Panel’s recommendations report.

    This decision has been made whilst taking into consideration that a Panel process requires recommendations achieve a super-majority of 80% or more support. Minority recommendations can be put up if a recommendation does not achieve 80%...

    At the 27 November Council Meeting, Council passed the motion:

    That Council

    1. Receives the recommendations prepared by the Green Wedge Management Plan Community Panel, including Minority Report #2.
    2. Requests officers prepare a response to all recommendations for consideration at the December 2018 Council meeting.

    Council has decided not to consider Minority Report #1 and it has been removed from the Panel’s recommendations report.

    This decision has been made whilst taking into consideration that a Panel process requires recommendations achieve a super-majority of 80% or more support. Minority recommendations can be put up if a recommendation does not achieve 80% support at voting, by any group of panel members. This usually occurs in the short break prior to the presentation of the report, as was the case with Minority Report #2.

    As the contents of Minority Report #1 were never put before the Panel for voting, Minority Report #1 cannot be taken to be consistent with the Panel’s recommendation in its preamble that “Minority reports have been prepared and should be given due consideration”.

    Panel facilitators MosaicLab have provided a report to Council in regards to minority reports and the GWMP Community Panel.

    Council however welcomes a submission from these Panel members – and the wider community – on the draft Green Wedge Management Plan, which will be released for broader engagement in early 2019.

    Next Steps

    1. Council response to Panel recommendations considered at 18 December Council Meeting

    2. Council staff write the draft GWMP, based upon Council's response to the Panel recommendations

    3. Community feedback on draft GWMP occurs early 2019.


  • Minority Report #1

    18 days ago

    The administration of the Shire of Nillumbik notes that there is commentary within Minority Report #1 as to the behaviour of Panel members. We do not agree or support this characterisation of the conduct of the Panel, or the criticism of the facilitators.


    The administration of the Shire of Nillumbik notes that there is commentary within Minority Report #1 as to the behaviour of Panel members. We do not agree or support this characterisation of the conduct of the Panel, or the criticism of the facilitators.


  • Community Panel Day 6

    22 days ago
    Gwmp   panel day 6


    Nillumbik’s inaugural Community Panel presented their recommendations on updating the Green Wedge Management Plan (GWMP) to attending Councillors at their sixth and final sitting day on Saturday, 17 November.

    The Community Panel’s task was to consider the question ‘What is the best way to manage Nillumbik’s Green Wedge now and into the future?’

    Representatives of the Community Panel presented the report to Mayor Karen Egan, Cr Peter Clarke and Cr Grant Brooker at the conclusion of deliberations at the Shire offices. You can read the full report here.

    The Community Panel articulated its vision for the report to be...


    Nillumbik’s inaugural Community Panel presented their recommendations on updating the Green Wedge Management Plan (GWMP) to attending Councillors at their sixth and final sitting day on Saturday, 17 November.

    The Community Panel’s task was to consider the question ‘What is the best way to manage Nillumbik’s Green Wedge now and into the future?’

    Representatives of the Community Panel presented the report to Mayor Karen Egan, Cr Peter Clarke and Cr Grant Brooker at the conclusion of deliberations at the Shire offices. You can read the full report here.

    The Community Panel articulated its vision for the report to be “living with the landscape to enhance the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the Shire.”

    The group identified principles that inspired and permeated their recommendations including connectedness, embracing change and social equity.

    The Community Panel made recommendations on the following issues that they considered to be critical, after reaching consensus of 80 per cent or above:

    • Bushfire Preparedness, Mitigation and Management
    • Governance
    • Environment
    • Planning
    • People and Culture
    • Economy

    One recommendation that did not achieve 80 per cent consensus has been included by the Panel as a minority report, as some Panel members felt strongly that it be raised with Council. Some members of the Community Panel have also produced a minority report, also presented to Councillors, on issues where the 80 per cent consensus could not be achieved. The minority reports appear on pages 38 to 62 of the full report.

    The Mayor thanked the Community Panel for all the time and energy they invested in the process.

    “Today marks the culmination of an enormous collective effort by the Panel and I commend them for the way they approached this task,” Cr Egan said.

    “The members of this Panel have represented the diversity of views and backgrounds that make our Shire so dynamic and vibrant. This process has highlighted the diversity of views on how best to protect our Green Wedge and fully realise its potential as a sustainable community asset.

    “We will now transition into the next critical part of the process: the Panel will formally hand its report with recommendations to Council at the next ordinary meeting on 27 November. Council will then consider this report before responding to each recommendation at the next meeting on 18 December.”

    Community Panel members Alex and Isabella presented the report to Mayor Karen Egan at the conclusion of the session.

    Alex, the second youngest member of the Community Panel, said he has spent his whole life in Diamond Creek.

    “We grew up thinking it is just part and parcel of life and it’s not until you have visitors or friends come into the area and they say ‘wow, it is such a unique part of Melbourne’. The reason I’m here is that we have to protect that unique nature, that unique landscape that is right on Melbourne’s fringe,” Alex said.

    “This is a first for me and it’s a first for Nillumbik as well, I think it’s a really great way to engage people, especially in this day and age. It’s just incredibly important to make sure you are reaching out to ordinary members of the community, no matter what age or background.

    “It has been such a one of a kind experience; I don’t think there would be any other time that I’d be sitting for six days, giving up six Saturdays to meet with such a range of people and, even in the break times, you’re getting to know people, why they’re here as well and I think that’s as valuable as anything else.”

    Isabella from Strathewen, who is expecting her first child, said she is passionate about the community.

    “My partner is fifth generation and we are about to have the sixth so it is close to my heart that things stay the way they are,” Isabella said.

    “We are right smack bang in the middle of the Green Wedge so whatever the outcome is of this Panel and the review it is going to affect us directly.

    “I’ve learnt so much, we’ve had so many specialists come and speak to us, it’s been a massive learning curve; I almost wish we could start again now we’ve heard all the information. I’m much better informed than I was at the start.”

    The Community Panel will officially present the report to the Council at their next ordinary meeting on Tuesday, 27 November.

    The Community Panel agreed that the existing Green Wedge Management Plan should serve as “a base on which to prepare an updated plan and any action that are yet to be completed should be carried over, unless specifically contradicted by our recommendations.”

    Council will consider the Community Panel’s report and respond to each of the Panel’s recommendation at the following ordinary meeting on Tuesday, 18 December. Where Council does not agree with a recommendation, an explanation will be provided.

    Council’s response to the Panel’s recommendations will directly inform the preparation of the draft GWMP. It is anticipated the draft GWMP will be released for community feedback between March and April 2019 ahead of the Plan being finalised by June 2019.

    Council will continue to keep the community informed about this process with information regularly provided under "Latest News"


  • Community Panel - Day 5

    about 1 month ago
    20181020 130745

    The Community Panel reconvened on Saturday 20 October for Day 5.

    The session began with the Panel hearing from Nillumbik Shire Council Director Business and Strategy, Adrian Cully. Mr Cully provided an overview of the administration’s feedback on the Panel’s first draft recommendations. The feedback was limited to officers seeking to clarify from the Panel the intent and desired outcomes for some of the proposed recommendations, and advice from the officers as to how recommendations could be implemented to achieve the desired outcomes.

    The Panel used the administration’s feedback to review their recommendations, looking to combine...

    The Community Panel reconvened on Saturday 20 October for Day 5.

    The session began with the Panel hearing from Nillumbik Shire Council Director Business and Strategy, Adrian Cully. Mr Cully provided an overview of the administration’s feedback on the Panel’s first draft recommendations. The feedback was limited to officers seeking to clarify from the Panel the intent and desired outcomes for some of the proposed recommendations, and advice from the officers as to how recommendations could be implemented to achieve the desired outcomes.

    The Panel used the administration’s feedback to review their recommendations, looking to combine or divide some where appropriate, and identify any gaps in what they will present to Council at the conclusion of their work.

    The afternoon was spent with panel members working in small groups to revise and refine recommendations reflecting the morning’s discussion and deliberation.

    The Panel made significant progress through the course of the day, working diligently on the task and respectful of the diverse perspectives on the Panel.

    The Panel will conclude their work on Saturday 17 November ahead of presenting their report to Council at the 27 November Council meeting.


  • Community Panel - Day 4

    about 2 months ago

    The fourth full-day meeting of the Green Wedge Management Plan (GWMP) Community Panel took place on Saturday 13 October. Thirty-four members were in attendance to continued their deliberations to finalising their recommendations to Council as Council reviews its GWMP.

    After reviewing all the topics the Panel identified for consideration at the previous Panel session, and adding any missing ones, the Panel moved into small groups to begin working on their first draft of the recommendations. Each group took carriage of a topic to draft recommendations, taking into consideration all the information the Panel has heard and read and drawing on...

    The fourth full-day meeting of the Green Wedge Management Plan (GWMP) Community Panel took place on Saturday 13 October. Thirty-four members were in attendance to continued their deliberations to finalising their recommendations to Council as Council reviews its GWMP.

    After reviewing all the topics the Panel identified for consideration at the previous Panel session, and adding any missing ones, the Panel moved into small groups to begin working on their first draft of the recommendations. Each group took carriage of a topic to draft recommendations, taking into consideration all the information the Panel has heard and read and drawing on their own experience of Nillumbik’s green wedge . This information included the guest speakers, the wider engagement report, the background report, and the existing GWMP. The focus of each recommendation was what outcome the Panel was seeking to achieve, rather than how it might be achieved.

    The Panel continued their deliberations in the afternoon by regrouping and reviewing the first draft of recommendations. Each Panel member reviewed every recommendation and considered their level of comfort with each one, and identified what, if anything, would make them more comfortable with the recommendation. This feedback was tallied up and presented back to the group. This gives the Panel a starting point for discussing, refining and rewriting their recommendations at their next meeting, this Saturday 20 October.

    At the commencement of the panel process, it was explained by the facilitators that a recommendation would only be put forwarded in the final report to Council if it had at least 80 per cent of panellists agreeing with it, which is why time is given to writing and re-writing the recommendations until they are as clear and satisfactory to the Panel as possible. Some recommendations may not meet the 80 per cent level of agreement but if panellists request it, can be presented to Council as a minority report, explaining clearly why Council should consider them even though they did not meet the voting threshold.

    Council has approved the Panel’s request for an extra day to complete their task, which has been scheduled for Saturday 17 November. Their final recommendations will be officially received by Council at their Council meeting on 27 November, and the Council response will be presented at the December Council meeting on 18 December. This change to the project timelines will result in the draft GWMP being prepared by Council over the summer, with the draft released for community feedback starting in March 2019.


  • Community Panel - Day 3

    3 months ago
    20180915 134214

    Community Panel - Day 3

    Nillumbik’s Community Panel reviewing the Green Wedge Management Plan (GWMP) met for their third full day session on Saturday, 15 September.

    Independent facilitators MosaicLab welcomed the 40-member Panel, and members of the community attended the panel meeting as observers.

    As well as working together to advance their thinking on the issues they are considering, the Panel heard from the following five speakers whom they had requested in previous sessions:

    • Anthony Calthorpe from Nillumbik Shire Council
    • George Apted from Apted Apples
    • Mike Ruzzene from Urban Enterprise
    • Cam Beardsell on Biodiversity
    • Craig Lapsley, former Emergency Management Commissioner

    ...

    Community Panel - Day 3

    Nillumbik’s Community Panel reviewing the Green Wedge Management Plan (GWMP) met for their third full day session on Saturday, 15 September.

    Independent facilitators MosaicLab welcomed the 40-member Panel, and members of the community attended the panel meeting as observers.

    As well as working together to advance their thinking on the issues they are considering, the Panel heard from the following five speakers whom they had requested in previous sessions:

    • Anthony Calthorpe from Nillumbik Shire Council
    • George Apted from Apted Apples
    • Mike Ruzzene from Urban Enterprise
    • Cam Beardsell on Biodiversity
    • Craig Lapsley, former Emergency Management Commissioner

    MosaicLab reminded the Panel to use their critical thinking skills to draw out as much information as possible. The facilitator noted that this was the last time that the Panel would be receiving a significant volume of information ahead of moving into a more deliberative stage over the remaining panel sessions in preparing a report for Council recommending their vision, objectives and key actions to shape a new Green Wedge Management Plan.

    Anthony Calthorpe addressed the Panel on township planning and the Green Wedge. Mr Calthorpe explained that “people, place and community” are at the centre of Nillumbik’s planning. He described the role of structure plans, township plans and other strategies that inform the Nillumbik planning scheme. Mr Calthorpe explained the hierarchy of the planning scheme and the importance of focussing on a best fit planning scheme, and the strategies that underpin it based on a triple bottom line approach.

    George Apted spoke about the Apted family’s fifth-generation Nillumbik business. The family also operates orchards in Kinglake and vineyards in Strathewen. Mr Apted explained the challenges associated with a running an agribusiness which include the pressure of population growth, the impact of pests and feral animals, difficulties sourcing employees and pressures from government agencies around water rights. The Apted family remain committed to sustainable and state of the art farming practices. Mr Apted also spoke about agribusiness opportunities for the Nillumbik area such as cellar door operations.

    Economics consultant Mike Ruzzene provided an economic profile of the Nillumbik area and noted that agriculture and tourism are not currently economic drivers in the area. Home-based industries such as professional services and construction businesses service a broader market, however these industries are not significant employers. Mr Ruzzene noted that while there are 33,000 people in Nillumbik of working age there are 11,000 jobs within the Shire. He informed the Panel that there was limited job growth in Nillumbik in the last decade and employment numbers within the Shire were the lowest of any municipality in Melbourne. Mr Ruzzene talked about economic opportunities for Nillumbik in agri-tourism, farm stays, visitor accommodation, food and wine experiences, recreational and environmental tourism, cycle tourism, events and festivals such as open farm festivals. He noted that the planning zone limits the capacity for some types of tourism activity.

    Cam Beardsell spoke about the history of and his experiences with the Nillumbik Green Wedge from the early 1960s through to today. The 1970s saw a groundswell of community action around protecting the Green Wedge and that was followed by a series of community groups forming and a range of government agencies becoming involved. Cameron noted that the Kinglake National Park is a significant achievement emanating from Nillumbik’s Green Wedge. Other achievements include native vegetation and clearance controls as well as protection of the Yarra River and endangered species. Mr Beardsell believes Nillumbik is the best Council in Victoria for the work it has done in this area and commended Council officers for the extensive background report to support the review of the Green Wedge Management Plan. Mr Beardsell noted that Nillumbik has around 10 per cent of flora and fauna that is listed as rare within Victorian Rare or Threatened Species Advisory Lists.

    Craig Lapsley congratulated the group for coming together to discuss subjects that are complex, difficult and emotional. Mr Lapsley noted that over its 100 days of hearings, the Royal Commission into the Black Saturday Bushfires examined every aspect of bushfire prevention from land management, building, rebuilding, fuel management, climate systems, broad research and mental health issues. Mr Lapsley noted that, in his view, Victoria now has the best fire protection policies in the world. He explained the critical importance of fire intensity, fire rating systems, fire behaviour. Mr Lapsley concluded his presentation to the Panel by discussing the importance of ‘shared responsibility’ and the fundamental importance of community discussion on these topics.

    The Panel also spent time examining different perspectives on key issues, to build their understanding of why people hold these views, and discussing ideas that might have common ground. All Panel members are working hard to be prepared for more discussion on Day 4 in a month’s time.


  • Day 3 Speaker Presentations and Notes

    3 months ago

    Presentations and notes that were provided by Day 3 speakers have now been uploaded to the portal. Others will be uploaded when they are received.

    • Cam Beardsell - presentation (NB: the views stated are those of the speaker and not necessarily those of Parks Victoria)
    • Anthony Calthorpe - pending
    • Mike Ruzzene - pending

    Presentations and notes that were provided by Day 3 speakers have now been uploaded to the portal. Others will be uploaded when they are received.

    • Cam Beardsell - presentation (NB: the views stated are those of the speaker and not necessarily those of Parks Victoria)
    • Anthony Calthorpe - pending
    • Mike Ruzzene - pending

  • Draft Bushfire Mitigation Strategy

    3 months ago

    Nillumbik Shire Council is seeking public comment on its draft Bushfire Mitigation Strategy that defines how it will prepare for and respond to bushfire emergencies.

    The draft paper addresses the Shire’s vulnerability to bushfire and how the risks should be managed and mitigated. Specifically it addresses how Council meets its bushfire mitigation responsibilities.

    Submissions can be made until midnight on Wednesday 12th September 2018 via Participate Nillumbik.


    The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is currently seeking community feedback to help it shape bushfire management strategies.

    You can learn more and give your feedback from 3 September...

    Nillumbik Shire Council is seeking public comment on its draft Bushfire Mitigation Strategy that defines how it will prepare for and respond to bushfire emergencies.

    The draft paper addresses the Shire’s vulnerability to bushfire and how the risks should be managed and mitigated. Specifically it addresses how Council meets its bushfire mitigation responsibilities.

    Submissions can be made until midnight on Wednesday 12th September 2018 via Participate Nillumbik.


    The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is currently seeking community feedback to help it shape bushfire management strategies.

    You can learn more and give your feedback from 3 September to 1 October 2018: https://engage.vic.gov.au/bushfire-planning

    You can also consult the current East Central Strategic Bushfire Management Plan.


  • Day 2 Speaker Presentations and Notes

    3 months ago

    Presentations and notes that were provided by Day 2 speakers have now been uploaded.

    Ian Penrose - presentation

    Max Parsons - handout

    Penny Croucamp (DELWP) - presentation

    Kahn Franke - presentation notes




    Presentations and notes that were provided by Day 2 speakers have now been uploaded.

    Ian Penrose - presentation

    Max Parsons - handout

    Penny Croucamp (DELWP) - presentation

    Kahn Franke - presentation notes




  • Questions and Answers from Panel Day 1

    3 months ago

    On Day 1, the Panel heard from a range of speakers, including Council staff who had authored the Background Report and led the earlier community engagement program.

    At the session’s conclusion, the Panel was given the opportunity to consider what further information gaps they have as a group and what additional data they require.

    These requests for information were followed up by Council officers and the responses to the questions are provided in this document.


    On Day 1, the Panel heard from a range of speakers, including Council staff who had authored the Background Report and led the earlier community engagement program.

    At the session’s conclusion, the Panel was given the opportunity to consider what further information gaps they have as a group and what additional data they require.

    These requests for information were followed up by Council officers and the responses to the questions are provided in this document.