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Economic Disadvantage Report

Part 6: Regulations & Planning


Although the Mornington Peninsula has technically been considered part of Greater Melbourne for over 30 years, the region has unique character and importance with a role that is distinct from and complementary to metropolitan Melbourne.

Metropolitan and regional classifications are used as the basis for policy and program decisions that have economic, social and environmental implications for each local economy and community in Victoria. These classifications are decided by the State Government and relate to the Victorian Planning and Environment Act 1987, Regional Development Victoria Act 2002, and Green Wedge Zoning.

Senior legal counsel obtained by the Committee for Mornington Peninsula indicates that a regional designation could be achieved whilst retaining the existing protection afforded to green wedge land in the Shire.

Metropolitan or Regional

Based on the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (PE Act), Mornington Peninsula is a local government area classified as part of metropolitan Melbourne. Other municipalities outside metropolitan Melbourne are considered "rural and regional Victoria" as per the Regional Development Victoria Act 2002.

However, when benchmarked against regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne, the Peninsula shares more similarities with regional Victoria, particularly concerning the demographic and socio-economic profile.

And although the state government considers the Mornington Peninsula part of metropolitan Melbourne, various statistical measures are used to determine urban, regional and remote boundaries at the federal government level.

The rural area of the Mornington Peninsula is one of Victoria’s most important long-term assets. It is a critical element of the sustainability and liveability of the region and critical to the Peninsula’s character and the amenity of its residents. The Mornington Peninsula Localised Planning Statement (2014) gives the region the following appraisal:

The Mornington Peninsula is critical to the future liveability, sustainability and prosperity of the wider metropolitan region. As an area near to, but with a role distinct from, the growing metropolitan area there are ever increasing pressures and demands placed on the Mornington Peninsula.

Green Wedge Zone

The municipality’s green wedge land, defined as the non-urban areas of metropolitan Melbourne, is currently protected as a Green Wedge Zone (GWZ). The GWZ provides the appropriate balance of permitted uses and protections for the Mornington Peninsula.

The Peninsula’s metropolitan status allows it to apply the GWZ across a significant portion of the municipality. The GWZ provides an appropriate balance for permitted uses and protection, given the municipality’s economic and environmental profile. The GWZ is considered appropriate to recognise and protect non-urban land outside the Urban Growth Boundary in the metropolitan area for its agricultural, environmental, historical, landscape or recreational values, or mineral and stone resources.

The GWZ provides an opportunity for all agricultural uses and limits non-rural uses to those that either support agriculture or tourism or that are essential for urban development but cannot locate in urban areas for amenities and other reasons (such as airports, schools, waste treatment plants, landfills and reservoirs). Given the unique landscape on the Peninsula and the strong protections provided by the GWZ, this zone provides the appropriate balance of permitted uses and protections for Mornington Peninsula’s setting.

Currently, the GWZ is only applied in metropolitan municipalities. However, the Committee for Mornington Peninsula sought senior legal counsel from Stuart Morris QC and Joanne Lardner to determine whether all Mornington Peninsula GWZ protections could be maintained under Victorian law should the Mornington Peninsula be reclassified to become part of regional Victoria. Both barristers have granted permission to publish the following summary of their advice in this report.

"The Committee for Mornington Peninsula Incorporated seeks to understand the implications of the Shire no longer included within metropolitan Melbourne as defined in the Planning and Environment Act 1987; and is seeking State government support to make such a change. The Committee believes that the metropolitan status of the Shire fails to reflect the nature of its local economy and its spatial role within the State; and operates to its disadvantage when it comes to the funding of infrastructure.
Nevertheless, the Committee wishes to ensure that any change to the metropolitan status of the Shire retains the protection afforded to green wedge land in the Shire. Currently, such land is protected by the controls in the planning scheme and by provisions in the PE Act. Having reviewed the relevant materials, we have formed the view that it is possible to retain the existing protection afforded to green wedge land in the Shire."


Being classified as metro Melbourne means our residents and businesses face all the challenges of a regional community with little to no funding support. The classification misalignment has resulted in growing community concern regarding the economic and social disadvantages experienced on the Mornington Peninsula due to the current classification, policy and program eligibility and funding opportunities.

Our study demonstrates that:

  • The current metropolitan classification results in a significant disadvantage for the MP economy and community;
  • A regional designation would likely offer a net benefit delivering significant benefits to the MP economy and community; and
  • There appear to be no significant or tangible adverse effects if MP losses its metropolitan status.

How does the metropolitan classification impact you, your business and your community?

How can we help advocate for the government to support the Peninsula?

Sign up for further updates or access the full Economic Disadvantage Report to learn more.

This research was conducted by Urban Enterprise as commissioned by the Committee for Mornington Peninsula in partnership with Australian Unity.

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  • Continue to advocate to government at all levels to adequately support Mornington Peninsula businesses in the COVID recovery;
  • Advocate to state and federal governments for further investment into the Mornington Peninsula to reduce the current disparity in public investment between the Mornington Peninsula and neighbouring municipalities;
  • Commission and publicise robust research into the potential policy and funding advantages and disadvantages of a regional vs. metropolitan designation for the Mornington Peninsula, to best inform further advocacy objectives;
  • Advocate to elected representatives on all sides of politics for a more suitable designation for the Mornington Peninsula than the current metropolitan model or for commensurate government investment under the current model; and
  • Maintain a record of favourable policy decisions and funding announcements that benefit comparable ‘regional’ communities and were not made available to the Mornington Peninsula.