Approval for urban development to occur in Melbourne’s south-eastern growth corridor has been announced today.

Melbourne’s south-eastern growth corridor is one of the four urban development areas in the Victorian Government program Delivering Melbourne’s Newest Sustainable Communities. This program will lead to over 350,000 new households supporting one million people, 15 major town centres, 85 local town centres and 350,000 new jobs, with an estimated net value of $50 billion. 

“Before allowing urban development to go ahead in the south-eastern growth corridor which covers the Casey and Cardinia regions, I have put in place strict approval conditions,” said Senator Simon Birmingham, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment.

“These conditions will protect matters of national environmental significance such as the vulnerable growling grass frog and the endangered southern brown bandicoot.

“In considering this approval, I have taken particular note of scientific and community concerns around the well being of the southern brown bandicoot and measures to protect this species have been a high priority.

“Before granting this approval I asked Victoria to strengthen their bandicoot management strategy which will control major threats such as feral foxes, and provide for voluntary incentive programs to restore bandicoot habitat through a $30 million compensation trust fund.

“In response to my request, Victoria developed a habitat connectivity supplement to the bandicoot strategy which provides new movement corridors between the Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne, and other bandicoot habitat outside of the south-eastern growth corridor.

“These measures provide a practical framework for the long term sustainable protection, conservation and management of southern brown bandicoots and other threatened species in the region,” said Senator Birmingham.

Overall implementation of this urban development program will provide a significant net gain in conservation, including a western grassland reserve of 15,000 hectares, a 1,200 hectare reserve for grassy eucalypt woodland and 36 conservation areas totalling 5,735 hectares. 

“Assessing the program under a streamlined strategic assessment provided a unique opportunity to secure landscape-scale protection for key ecological communities and species potentially threatened by Melbourne’s expansion. 

“Using strategic assessments can reduce regulatory costs by avoiding the need for individual project approvals and delivering upfront certainty on both development and conservation outcomes,” said Senator Birmingham.