Amendment C148 - Rural Land Use Strategy


SheepThe Ballarat Rural Land Use Strategy was adopted by Council in December 2010. The Strategy aims to ensure the long-term productivity and sustainable development of Ballarat’s rural areas.

The key adopted recommendations of the Strategy are a long-term vision for the municipality’s rural areas, formulation of a new policy and modified planning controls for assessing housing and subdivision in the Farming Zone. The Strategy does not facilitate rezoning requests for individual landowners. The draft 'Rural Areas Review' (2008) was used as a foundation for the Ballarat Rural Land Use Strategy.

The Rural Land Use Strategy has been finalised and adopted by Council. A Planning Scheme Amendment will now take place to implement the changes into the Ballarat Planning Scheme.

Final Strategy


What happens now?

In order for the Strategy’s recommendations to be converted to land use and development controls, the Ballarat Planning Scheme now needs to be updated. A process known as a Planning Scheme Amendment will take place to update the Ballarat Planning Scheme.

This is a lengthy process whereby the State Government must assess the land use and development controls being put forward by Council.

An independent planning Panel was held in May 2012, where the Minister for Planning appointed a Panel of three members to review all of the submissions received. This amendment and Amendment C149 (Implementation of Dowling Forest Precinct Master Plan) were addressed in a combined Panel Hearing, given the interrelated rural land use issues that both address.

The Panel have now released their official report and Council will consider this in the coming weeks. Council need to determine whether to adopt or not adopt the Panel’s recommendations before the amendments can be sent to the Minister for Planning for final approval.


The following documents were on exhibition from Thursday 28th July to Friday 9th September.


Amendment Documents

Proposed Planning Scheme Changes

Related Content


2008 Review Top of document.


Following public consultation and receipt of submissions to the draft Rural Areas Review in 2007/2008, a re-assessment of the Review was undertaken. It was determined that whilst the Review thoroughly examined current issues, it did not evolve into a proper strategy that would guide the sustainable development, and protect the long term productivity, of the rural areas throughout the municipality.

The re-assessment identified that further work was required to convert the review into a strategy, by developing an accepted vision for the City of Ballarat's rural areas, and a strategic implementation plan, through a consultative approach between the community and Council.

Therefore, it was decided that it was not appropriate for Council to formally consider the submissions or the adoption of the Rural Areas Review until it was translated into a Rural Strategy.

What were the Objectives of the Review?

In response to the Minister for Planning's review, the draft Ballarat Rural Areas Review was prepared to investigate and address:

  • § the application of the existing rural zones and overlays which apply to the City of Ballarat's rural areas;
  • § the existing and preferred future land uses within and the appearance of rural areas;
  • § the opportunities for different agricultural uses in the City of Ballarat's rural areas;
  • § the appropriateness of existing rural living areas and the opportunities for new housing and subdivisions within the existing rural and rural living areas;
  • § whether new housing and subdivision opportunities should continue to be provided and if so, in what form and where;
  • § to recommend new rural zones and overlays within the City of Ballarat's rural areas;

The review examined the municipality's rural areas with the view to identifying where key changes to planning policy and provisions were needed. The draft report examined agriculture, rural residential living and environmental issues.

Key Findings

The draft report identified:

  • § A majority of rural land is of high to very high productive quality;
  • § Agricultural uses support a $40 million industry that includes broad acre crops, grazing and potatoes not including the business linked to food manufacturing;
  • § There is a 19 year supply of rural residential land calculated on the existing take up rate of vacant rural residential lots;
  • § A minor increase in rural population is forecast;
  • § The number of people in rural households on average, is larger than those in urban households;
  • § Salinity, erosion and floodplain management, habitat and biodiversity retention are some of the environmental issues occurring in our rural areas.

The draft report examined and mapped in detail the agricultural productivity of Ballarat's rural areas as well as environmental issues affecting rural land. The report also examined rural lifestyle land use in terms of whether additional rural residential land is needed and where new rural residential land should be located.

An assessment of the social and demographic profile of rural residents and the economic contribution that agriculture commodities make to Ballarat, was also undertaken.
(see Appendix B (PDF - 620KB)Appendix C (PDF - 117KB)Appendix D (PDF - 76KB) and Appendix F (PDF - 78KB))

The draft report used this information to assess eleven areas (districts) and has made recommendations on the planning provisions for these areas.
(see Chapter 6 Rural District Assessment (PDF - 610KB))

The draft report included a more detailed look at fourteen areas (precincts) where there are more complex planning issues to deal with.
(see Chapter 7 Rural Precinct Assessment (PDF - 1798KB))

In general, the draft report recommended some changes to the Municipal Strategic Statement, some zone and overlay changes and the introduction of two new planning policies as part of a Rural Strategy.

(see Chapter 9 Recommended Planning Scheme Changes (PDF - 55KB))

The draft report recommended that for the majority of rural land in the north, west and east of the municipality, no change from the Farming Zone was necessary. However, the draft report also concluded that there were some discrete areas where a zone change may be considered. The report also recommended a change in planning policy for the way in which rural residential development and rural land uses are managed through the planning system.


The draft Rural Areas Review (RAR) was exhibited in November 2007. Submissions to the review closed at 5.00pm Friday, 30 November 2007.

Download the Rural Areas Review Executive Summary (PDF - 1326KB) for an overview of the report.

Alternatively, the full report is available to download in 16 parts from the links below.


A public information session was held on 12 November 2007 to explain the results and recommendations of the report.

Correspondence was sent to those people who made submissions to the draft in late 2008, in order to notify them of the engagement of Parsons Brinckerhoff to utilise the Rural Areas Review work and undertake the 'Rural Land Use Strategy' (as above).

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