Yarra Ranges and Mornington Peninsula are like no other parts of Victoria, with their urban and rural mix, high-value agricultural and conservation land, and iconic tourism destinations.
This mix creates distinct economic advantages and disadvantages, and there are State-significant economic opportunities in both regions that are not currently supported by any consistent funding streams.
Acknowledging this, and opening up regional funding streams to these municipalities, will benefit the regions, their residents and the State of Victoria.
To do this, we need a new status – peri-regional – that retains our metropolitan classification, recognises our unique challenges and opportunities, and unlocks the significant economic potential of our regions.
The potential of Peri-Regional status
Peri-Regional status will allow us to better service and support both our urban and rural areas, by:
- Acknowledging the unique mix of metropolitan and regional characteristics of Yarra Ranges and Mornington Peninsula
- Granting consistent access to relevant Victorian and Commonwealth Government funding to realise local, state and national economic potential
- Creating greater opportunities for our high-value tourism, agricultural and cultural sectors.
Peri-Regional areas are the missing piece in the spatial composition of Victoria.
As a unique geographical form, peri-regional completes the picture, which now includes metropolitan, interface, peri-urban, regional cities and rural councils.
The path forward for ‘peri-regional’
Together with Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, Yarra Ranges Council has commissioned a report into the impacts of our metropolitan classification, that sets out the case for ‘peri-regional’.
We’re now advocating to the Victorian Government to formally establish peri-regional as a status, and apply it to our regions to better recognise our unique needs and potential, and grant access to relevant regional funding programs.
Read the report: Report - A Peri-Regional Approach(PDF, 8MB)
Read the fact sheet: Yarra Ranges Council - Peri-Regional Advocacy - Overview(PDF, 4MB)
How did Council decide to advocate for peri-regional status?
Council’s decision to advocate for peri-regional status has been shaped by:
- Community feedback, both recent and historical, that the challenges and potential of our regional areas should be better recognised by the state of Victoria
- Feedback and input from local businesses and community services that there are untapped opportunities to grow our local and state economy due to limited access to regional funding opportunities
Recognition that the state already identifies our areas as being partly regional, as evidenced by the inclusion of Yarra Ranges and Mornington Peninsula in some regional funding programs, such as the Regional Tourism Investment Fund. This access to regional funding has, however, been inconsistent and limits our ability to plan strategically for such opportunities
- Evidence, as presented in the report commissioned by Council(PDF, 8MB), that peri-regional status would support local, state and national economies by:
- broadening funding opportunities to support and strengthen our regional assets, including our agriculture and tourism industries
- advocating for a change that would retain the protection of our natural environment and Green Wedge Zones
- following the precedented approach of the peri-urban group of councils, to achieve a new status that can be applied quickly and easily to deliver benefits faster to our local communities and businesses.
Would Yarra Ranges still be classified as metropolitan, if it were granted peri-regional status?
Yes, Yarra Ranges would retain its metropolitan classification, with peri-regional status overlaying our classification.
This follows the precedent set by the Peri-Urban Councils Victoria, who retained their classification as regional councils, with a new peri-urban status granted by the Victorian Government to allow access to some metropolitan funding programs.
Why not completely reclassify Yarra Ranges as ‘regional’?
Yarra Ranges Council has received planning advice, that indicates that a complete regional reclassification would require the State Government to make several changes to Victorian legislation and the planning scheme. This would be a long and complex process, that could create inconsistencies across planning and legislation.
It could also result in the loss of Green Wedge Zones (GWZs), which help to protect and enhance our natural environment.
Completely reclassifying Yarra Ranges as regional would limit or prohibit our access to metropolitan funding programs.
That’s why we’re advocating for ‘peri-regional’ – it’s a simple, efficient way to grant our regions access to the appropriate mix of metropolitan and regional funding, while protecting our high-value natural assets.