Planning for our Shire's growth


The Shire needs strategic planning projects to guide its development as its population increases. 

Strategic planning for significant growth

Plan Melbourne and the Central Highlands Regional Growth Plan identify the Shire as a growth area. Our population is set to increase by more than 80% in the next 20 years to 63,838.

About population forecasts

Councils population forecasts are provided by a population and demographics company called .id.

.id create the population forecasts based on information from Council on strategic growth areas and developments, with .id expertise on regional, national and global drivers of change. The forecasts are monitored for performance annually, and adjusted if needed.  

The forecasts can be access here.

Current strategic planning projects

Maddingley Planning Study project

Status: Planning Study completed - Community/stakeholder consultation was undertaken from 3 May to 1 July 2022.

The Maddingley Planning Study(PDF, 22MB) provides the strategic foundation for changes to the Moorabool Planning Scheme that will guide future land use and development within the study area and within separation distances to industrial uses. 

The Maddingley Planning Study has been informed by a Background Report (March 2019(PDF, 10MB)and the outcomes of extensive community/stakeholder consultation.

This Interactive Map enables you to search a property or click on an area of interest, to identify the relevant recommended planning principles and planning provisions. 

Community/stakeholder consultation has been completed and Council is currently determining the next steps for the Maddingley Planning Study project.

For further information visit Council's ‘Have your say’ page.

Moorabool Carparking Study

Council commenced a study in 2019 to determine car parking requirements in Bacchus Marsh and Ballan.

The study investigated the current provision by surveying on-street, off-street, and unofficial parking. Shopper surveys and parking occupancy surveys in Bacchus Marsh and Ballan were undertaken in December 2019. Consultation on recommendations from the draft study were undertaken in April and May 2021. The second stage of the study forecast future car parking demand and provided recommendations on parking management strategies.

The key recommendations of the study have been incorporated into a draft Moorabool Parking Strategy. This sets out the principles that will assist Council to respond to the growing and changing needs of the Moorabool community, including how Council considers development, urban design and parking management.

A new parking policy sets out how Council will apply many of these principles in assessing residential and commercial developments, managing on-street parking and undertaking other activities which may have an impact on parking supply or usage.

We want your feedback on the draft Parking Strategy and Policy!

You can have your say on our website until 18 December 2022 @ or the printed documents and surveys are available for viewing at Council offices.

Background Report
  • Occupancy surveys in Bacchus Marsh and Ballan undertaken in December 2019
  • Shopper Intercept Surveys completed in December 2019


Bacchus Marsh Town Centre Structure Plan

The Bacchus Marsh Activity Centre Structure Plan aims to establish a long-term strategic vision for Bacchus Marsh town centre. The structure plan will strengthen the role of the town centre as the primary civic, employment and retail precinct in the Shire.

The purpose of the structure plan is to establish a framework for guiding land use and development within the Bacchus Marsh Town Centre, with a particular focus on four key themes:

  • Activation of Main Street
  • Unlocking key development sites
  • Improving the connections between Main Street and the train station
  • Establishing a Civic Precinct to act as a catalyst for change and investment

The Bacchus Marsh Town Centre Structure Plan and the Moorabool Retail Strategy are being prepared simultaneously.

In coming months engagement will be undertaken to inform the development of the Structure Plan.

Moorabool Retail Strategy

The current Moorabool Retail Strategy was completed in 2016 and predates the work undertaken on the Bacchus Marsh Urban Growth Framework (BMUGF) (C81) and the Ballan Strategic Directions (C88) which identified areas for future growth.

Council is now preparing a new Retail Strategy to reflect the expected population growth anticipated within the growth precincts and provide guidance on the form and hierarchy of existing and planned activity centres within the Moorabool Shire.

The strategy will:

  • Support Bacchus Marsh Town Centre to be the key regional centre servicing the Shire (along with the Bacchus Marsh Town Centre Structure Plan project).
  • Ensure Ballan Town Centre accommodates the retail, commercial and community land uses which the growing town needs.
  • Establish an Activity Centre hierarchy to provide guidance on floor areas, timelines and market supply across emerging and future local centres identified within the Merrimu and Parwan Station Precinct Structure Plan (PSP) areas, Stonehill estate, Underbank estate, Hopetoun Park, Bungaree and Wallace.
  • Provide guidance on sustainable retail and commercial offerings in small towns and settlements, and strategic direction on measures to support viable operations into the future.

The Bacchus Marsh Town Centre Structure Plan and the Moorabool Retail Strategy are being prepared simultaneously.

In coming months engagement will be undertaken to inform the development of the Retail Strategy.

Rural Land Use Strategy

Moorabool Shire is one of the fastest growing peri-urban municipalities in Victoria. As a result, the Shire faces a variety of competing challenges for the Shire’s rural areas. Primarily, these challenges include land use conflicts, land fragmentation and development pressures. 

The Shire is characterised by a diverse range of rural landscapes, including ranges, plains, gorges, and areas of significant agricultural value. A recent review of the Moorabool Shire Planning Scheme identified a number of interrelated rural issues, such as long-term viability of farming land, increased demand for rural residential living, and a lack of certainty in decision making. The existing local policy framework has struggled to manage these competing interests, particularly at the interface of Rural Living and Farming zone areas.

Council is preparing a Rural Land Use Strategy which will:

  • Ensure the Shire establishes comprehensive policy responses to address the competing issues and interests in rural areas
  • Find an appropriate balance between the need to protect agricultural land from inappropriate land uses, while addressing demand for those seeking a rural lifestyle
  • Protect landscape values while respecting environmental hazards and considering the impacts of climate change

Community consultation will form a crucial component of the strategy and updates as well as opportunities for input will be posted on this page.

Bungaree and Wallace Structure Plans

Bungaree and Wallace have been identified for future residential growth at both a state and local level within the Central Highlands Regional Growth Plan and Moorabool Small Towns and Settlement Strategy. The primary goal of the Bungaree and Wallace Structure Plans is to unlock the growth potential of each town and facilitate well planned rural town residential lifestyle opportunities for residents seeking a more rural lifestyle in smaller towns.

There are a number of key issues limiting growth, with the main one being the lack of sewage servicing. Both towns have water service, however a considerable amount of land is located within protected catchments, which limit residential development opportunities by prohibiting the installation of new septic systems. Council is working with Central Highlands Water to investigate options for sewering the towns.

Council will commence the Structure Plan process in the second half of 2022. It is anticipated that the structure plan will be complete in late 2023, with rezoning and implementation taking place thereafter.

Heritage Strategy

Council has commenced preparation of a Moorabool Heritage Strategy. The Strategy will replace the existing Moorabool Heritage Strategy 2016-2020. The Moorabool Shire Council Heritage Strategy is a document that outlines how the objectives of Moorabool Shire Council's heritage vision statement will be achieved and describes Council's overall direction for heritage management. It also sets out how Council will meet its heritage obligations as per various State policies. The Strategy also assists Council in identifying good heritage practices already in place.

 As part of the preparation of the Strategy, a review has been undertaken as to the progress Council has made on the actions identified in the last Strategy was prepared and have found that Council has made progress related to several goals identified in the last document including:

  • Establishing a regular Heritage Advisory Service
  • Identifying and protecting Heritage Streetscapes
  • Promoting the story of Moorabool and its heritage to the community and visitors

In the coming months staff will be engaging the community to learn more about their heritage issues and priorities moving forward. Staff will also be consulting with the registered aboriginal parties.

Precinct Structure Plans

Precinct Structure Plans (PSPs) are master plans for whole communities and detail road layouts, shopping centres, schools, parks, housing, employment, connections to transport and generally resolve the complex issues of biodiversity, infrastructure provision and council charges. The Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) is the planning authority responsible for overseeing the preparation of the Merrimu, Parwan Station and Parwan Employment PSPs. Council is working closely with the VPA on the preparation of these PSPs. Further information can be found on the VPAs website


Parwan Station

Parwan Employment

Victorian Planning Authority Projects

The Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) is a State Government statutory authority that reports to the Minister for Planning. The VPA works with councils and local communities, other government agencies, landowners and developers to plan for strategically important precincts in inner and middle ring Melbourne, the growth areas and regional cities. The VPA are the planning authority for the Merrimu, Parwan Station and Parwan Employment Precincts.


The VPA is working with Moorabool Shire Council to prepare a Precinct Structure Plan (PSP) and Infrastructure Contributions Plan (ICP) for 7,200 lots and 1,800 jobs at Merrimu (Bacchus Marsh).

Visit the VPA for more information

Parwan Station

The VPA is working with Moorabool Shire Council to prepare a Precinct Structure Plan (PSP) and Infrastructure Contributions Plan (ICP) to facilitate planning for a future mixed-use precinct with up to 13,000 new residents and over 4,000 new jobs and a potential new train station.

Visit the VPA for more information

Parwan Employment Precinct

The VPA is working with Moorabool Shire Council to prepare a Development Plan and a Development Plan Overlay to facilitate planning for 1,500 jobs at the Parwan Employment Precinct (Bacchus Marsh).

Visit the VPA for more information

Completed strategic planning projects

Ballan Strategic Directions

Ballan Strategic Directions provides clear strategic direction for the future of Ballan and was a base for the Amendment C88.

View the respective documents:

Ballan Strategic Directions Part 1(PDF, 15MB)

Ballan Strategic Directions Part 2(PDF, 11MB)


Urban Growth Framework (UGF)

We prepared the Bacchus Marsh UGF with the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA). It was adopted by Council on 19 September 2018.

What is the Urban Growth Framework?

Strategic document that guides the growth of Bacchus Marsh to 2041 and beyond

Defines the settlement boundary

Nominates new growth precincts: Merrimu, Parwan Station, Parwan Employment, and Hopetoun Park North. 

For further information please refer to the Amendment C81 webpage.

Small Towns and Settlements Strategy

The Small Towns and Settlements Strategy (STS) provides the future vision on the management of our small towns and settlements.

Download sections of the Small Towns and Settlements Strategy:

Bacchus Marsh Housing Strategy

Council has prepared a housing strategy called Housing Bacchus Marsh to 2041. It addresses how to manage growth pressures and preserve neighbourhood character.

Key reasons for this strategic direction:

  • Regional service centre role
  • Accessibility to Melbourne, Geelong and Ballarat
  • Well-established town centre
  • Availability of greenfield and infill development opportunities

Download the Strategy documents:


Moorabool Industrial Areas Strategy

The Strategy sets out the direction for industrial land use. Population growth means careful planning to ensure the local economy provides opportunities for an expanding workforce.

View the Industrial Areas Strategy(PDF, 5MB)

Gordon Structure Plan

Gordon Structure Plan guides and manages the future development of the township and its surrounds. It addresses land use, zoning, urban design, visual amenity, facilities, and infrastructure.

View our Gordon Structure Plan(PDF, 4MB)