The City of Greater Geelong (the City) held two workshops with environment and community group members in February
2023 to assist the City in preparing the Northern and Western Geelong Growth Areas (NWGGA) Strategic Assessment.
The purpose of engagement with environment groups was to:
• Provide an overview of and context for the Strategic Assessment
• Identify any key issues or priorities for environment groups in the context of the NWGGA Strategic Assessment
• Provide an understanding of the project to assist environment groups engage in the public comment process.

Some of the key issues of focus across the attendees included:
• How to manage and incentivise conservation on private land.
• Managing the Moorabool River, including the impacts of the Batesford Quarry, implications of stormwater
management in the Growth Areas, and opportunities to enhance the river corridor.
• Opportunities for biodiversity linkages in the growth areas and looking to enhance the environment during
implementation of the project.
• The shortcomings of past development projects and the implications for implementation of the NWGGA Strategic
A detailed account of the comments and questions raised by attendees is provided below:

• Questions relating to data, including:
– Will survey data collected by Ecology and Heritage Partners (EHP) be uploaded into the Victorian Biodiversity
Atlas (VBA)?
– Is the data used in the report publicly available?
• Questions / comments on the development and avoidance layout of the growth areas:
– What is the size of the buffer on the Moorabool River and Cowies Creek?
– Comment that it is positive to see some biodiversity linkages proposed in the layout, although the opportunity
for more linkages should be considered.
– Note that there is often a fixation on buffer zones to be set in stone at the minimum requirement, although this
may not provide the best outcome in the context of the site.
• Questions / comments on MNES:
– General concern at the amount of remnant Natural Temperate Grassland mapped within the growth areas.
– Noted that the survey records for Striped Legless Lizard don’t overlap with the mapped areas of Natural
Temperate Grassland.
– Noted that the only action for in-stream species was to manage stormwater, would like to see more done for
the listed aquatic species.
– The Golden Sun Moth and Striped Legless Lizard are using modified environments in the growth areas, how
will these areas be offset?

• General comments/concerns:
– What scope is there for enhancing the environment, not just avoiding and mitigating impacts?
– A number of questions and comments on the downstream section of the Moorabool River which has been
impacted by the Batesford Quarry, and the implications this has for biodiversity and landscape connectivity.
– Comment that the current state of the environment is a result of 200 years of destructive farming, what
opportunity is there to re-establish historical conditions? The traditional land management practices of the
Wadawurrung should be considered in the context.
– Concern about the implementation of major projects not providing the biodiversity outcomes they intend to.
– Do local environmental values get picked up in the Strategic Assessment Report?
– Concern about the previous outcomes of development in relation to stormwater management and the
Moorabool River.
– Noted Barwon water is looking to reuse stormwater in the precinct and comment that recycled water going into
river systems can have negative impacts on biodiversity.

• Questions / comments on the development and avoidance layout of the growth areas:
– Will there be housing on the monocline escarpment?
– Concerns about the isolated nature of reserves and implications this has for biodiversity.
– Why were biodiversity linkages not considered prior to land zoning for the growth areas?
• Questions / comments on MNES:
– Concern about why one of the Striped Legless Lizard populations has potentially been lost in the Northern
Geelong Growth Area (NGGA). What opportunity is there for further survey and investigation?
• General comments/concerns:
– It is positive to see that the NGGA conservation area has been expanded.
– A number of questions and comments regarding the southern part of the Western Geelong Growth Area
(WGGA), not included as part of the Strategic Assessment.
– Noted decisions made for this project will impact decisions made for downstream areas.
– What opportunity is there to consider enhancing the environment, not just mitigating impacts?
– Numerous comments and detailed discussion on conservation management on private land, including:
 What incentives are there for landholders?
 What the City is doing to promote good environmental outcomes on private land?
 Particular focus and discussion on managing landholders once development plans are made publicly
 Comment that while some landholders are doing good work on their land, neighbours can be negatively
impacting their environmental values which cancels out the positive actions.

– Why does public comment occur when a large part of the document drafting, and decision making is already
– Question on the process for the Strategic Assessment, why does so much of the planning relating to
biodiversity get left for the precinct planning phase?
– Noted that the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (BCS) needs to strike a balance between providing clarity
and certainty now, and also into the future.
– A number of comments and questions on the downstream section of the Moorabool River, which has been
impacted by the Batesford Quarry, and the implications this has for biodiversity and landscape connectivity.

The engagement sessions were intended to introduce the document package to community and environment groups and
provide the opportunity for initial feedback. Where relevant to the purpose and scope of the documents for the Strategic
Assessment, the feedback provided in these sessions has been considered in updating the documents prior to public
The documents will be available to review as part of the public exhibition process later in 2023. This period will allow for
formal feedback on the documents and the City will provide responses to formal feedback received during this period.