Land use

The land on which we live

The Port Phillip and Western Port region covers around 1.28 million hectares, or 5.6 per cent of Victoria. 

The urban area currently covers around 172,000 hectares or 14 per cent of the region. It contains over 5 million residents as well as the infrastructure, open space and natural areas that they need.

Around 44 per cent of the region is used for agriculture. A further 42 per cent is under native vegetation on private land and on public land in reserves, parks and water supply catchments.  Much of the region’s food, water, timber, building stone and sand supplies come from its rural areas. Protecting these primary industries and habitat for native species, natural areas and scenic landscapes is an important aim for the region’s green wedges and surrounding rural land.

Around 44 per cent of the region is currently used for agriculture and green wedges and around 42 per cent is native vegetation including the large parks and water supply catchments. Much of the region’s natural resource production comes from the rural and vegetation areas, including food, water, timber and minerals. Rural areas also provide habitat for native species, recreational sites, protected natural areas and scenic landscapes.

The rural and urban land in the region includes around 300,000 hectares of public land – a network of eight national parks, six state parks and numerous regional, metropolitan and local parks, conservation reserves and coastal reserves, historic and cultural sites, road reserves and waterways. The parks include the closed catchments that supply Melbourne’s water. Other areas supply timber and other forestry products. Social and environmental benefits of public land and open space include opportunities for recreation, tourism, nature conservation and protection of biodiversity, culture and heritage.

By 2030, the population is forecast to grow by a further one million people which will place pressure on rural land outside the Urban Growth Boundary for conversion to urban use. The proximity of green wedge and peri-urban land to Melbourne makes the range of land uses competing for space some of the most contested in the state.