The metropolitan strategy release in 2002 known as Melbourne 2030: Planning for sustainable growth established an Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) around Melbourne to better manage outward expansion in a coordinated manner.
The purpose of the UGB is to direct urban growth to areas best able to be supplied with appropriate infrastructure and services and protect other valuable peri-urban land (and environmental features) from urban development pressures.
The UGB applies around the urban areas of metropolitan Melbourne.
Due to population projections beyond those anticipated, the Victorian Government reviewed the UGB in 2010 after it released Melbourne @ 5 million (PDF), the update to – Melbourne 2030: Planning for sustainable growth.
The review of the UGB responded to the directions of Melbourne @ 5 million to accommodate an additional 600,000 new dwellings in Melbourne, with 284,000 of these needing to be located in the growth areas. Most of this future growth was designated to be in the north and west of Melbourne.
The expansion of Melbourne’s boundary, was only approved after rigorous environmental studies were undertaken by State agencies and approved by the Commonwealth government to ensure natural features and protected species were managed, incorporated or left outside the UGB. There was also provision made for future transport corridors. For more information, refer to Delivering Melbourne’s newest sustainable communities.
At the same time the government introduced the Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution (GAIC) to help capture some of the benefits of rezoning land for urban use – together with much improved local Development Contribution Plans (DCP) – to help meet the infrastructure needs generated by these developments.
In 2012 the State Government approved an additional approximately 6,000 hectares of land to extend the UGB to include areas considered ‘logical inclusions’ to the UGB by an independent Advisory Committee.
The current UGB was reaffirmed as the outer limit for growth in Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 at Policy 2.1.1. It can only be changed by majority vote in both houses of Parliament.