Work starts on greater controls for clean fill dumping in green wedge

Published on 22 December 2020


Nillumbik Shire Council has been given the green light by the State Government to commence work on a planning scheme amendment to enable it to better control the dumping of clean fill soil on green wedge land.

Last week, Council received written permission from Richard Wynne, the Victorian Planning Minister, to start the process for Amendment C131 to the Nillumbik Planning Scheme.

If approved, any deposit of more than 100 cubic metres of clean fill in our green wedge will require a planning permit.

Council officers are now preparing the proposed Planning Scheme Amendment for public consultation which will also include public submissions at a Council Delegated Committee meeting with a six-week public exhibition period commencing in February 2021.

The process may also require an independent planning panel hearing.

Council have been pursuing enforcement proceedings over earthworks at 130 and 265 Chapel Lane, Doreen, which, upon investigating resident complaints, officers determined required a permit.

Nillumbik Mayor Peter Perkins said the Planning Minister’s permission to commence the process was a critical and welcome first step.

“Receiving the authority from the Planning Minister to commence the planning scheme amendment process is very welcome news and an important step in better protecting our green wedge for all,” Cr Perkins said.

“This provides our community with the assurance that Council is making tangible progress in its efforts to resolve this ongoing issue. Some of this activity has been unregulated and we can now move into the next phase of introducing tighter controls.

“We will follow the statutory process and while the outcome is not guaranteed, we’re confident that our case is strong enough to achieve the best outcomes for Nillumbik – stronger planning controls regulating clean fill dumping and greater community certainty.”

The Planning Minister refused Council’s request for interim order (Amendment C130), which would have enabled it to enact the controls sought through Amendment C131, in the shorter term.

In making his decision the Minister stated: “I do not consider that proposed Amendment C130 meets the tests under 20(4) for exemption from the requirements of sections 17, 18 and 19 of the Planning and Environment Act. DELWP (the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning) has commenced the Planning for Melbourne's Green Wedges and Agricultural Land project. I consider that the overarching issue of soil importation, large-scale earthworks and associated land uses should be properly considered through this project and that it would be premature for me to intervene at this time. I encourage your council to continue to liaise with DELWP throughout this important project.”

At its meeting on 15 December, Council unanimously resolved to write to DELWP seeking an extension of the closing date for submissions on Melbourne’s Green Wedge and Agricultural Land options paper, in order to enable an appropriate and considered submission. It cited the COVID pandemic and the holiday period as significant mitigating factors that necessitate the extension.

Members of the public can make submissions to the DELWP options paper directly by following this link.