The Melbourne Strategic Assessment program is a long-term, ongoing initiative that works alongside urban development in Melbourne’s growth areas. From boosting awareness about the Southern Brown Bandicoot, to a new program protecting endangered woodlands, take a look at some of our highlights.

Seasonal Herbaceous Wetland Seasonal Herbaceous Wetland

Restoring our native grasslands

Land acquisition 

So far, we've purchased around 20% of the Western Grassland Reserve. This means more than 2,691 hectares of threatened grasslands and wetlands are permanently protected. We are in negotiations with landowners to acquire more land in the next year.  And, as we continue to raise revenue from the MSA Levy, we will be purchasing more land.

Managing biodiversity threats
We work with a range of organisations, local councils and other government agencies to help landowners in the Western Grassland Reserve manage threats to native plants, animals and ecosystems, and strengthen regulation to prevent degradation.

Our delivery partner, Wyndham City Council, supported landowners to control weeds on more than 3,220 hectares of private land. Other activities include controlled burning, spraying artichoke thistle with drones, planting native grasses, serrated tussock and cane needle grass control, and 1,264 hectares of vegetation surveys across three private properties.

Striped Legless Lizard 

Creating new conservation areas

The Growling Grass Frog, Golden Sun Moth and Striped Legless Lizard are just some of the threatened species to be permanently protected in 36 conservation areas across 4,000 hectares around Melbourne. So far, 210 hectares have been permanently protected, with more to come in the next year.
Our first parcels of Growling Grass Frog Conservation Area land have been reserved and will be managed by Melbourne Water.

Grassy Eucalypt Woodland copy 

Protecting rare woodland

Through our partnership with Trust for Nature and Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, we are creating the 1,200-hectare Grassy Eucalypt Woodland protected area in Melbourne’s north west. Trust for Nature leads the landowner engagement and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung is surveying properties to identify priorities.

Growling Grass Frog 

Growling Grass Frog program

Habitat loss, a deadly fungus and predatory fish are some of the reasons Growling Grass Frog numbers have dropped by around 50%, according to our recent monitoring study of nearly 150 sites in Merri Creek and Darebin Creek.

Good numbers of ‘Growlers’ were recorded for the second breeding season in their dedicated wetland at Aintree on Kororoit Creek.

The Gone Growling citizen science project, led by the Arthur Rylah Institute, encouraged Victorians to listen out for frogs and record them on the Frog Census app. Find out more how we’re working to protect this green and gold frog.


Investment in conservation

We’ve spent more than $126.356 million on land acquisition, this includes $104.154 million on land purchases and $22.202 million on land compensation payments. We've also spent $49.900 million on land management, monitoring, research and other conservation actions (as of 31 May 2023).

The remaining unspent funds are earmarked for land purchase negotiations and conservation actions.


Planning ahead

So far 56% of precinct structure plans have been completed, mapping out the land uses of each new suburb. This includes locking in a clear set of rules for protecting biodiversity. Once the plans are done, construction of subdivisions and new houses can begin.


Secure funding

We’ve collected $261.478 million (at 31 May 2023) from urban development levies for our conservation areas and programs.

We collect these levies at each stage of development. We’ve also coordinated 180 staged payment agreements with developers to streamline the approval process for new houses and infrastructure.

Southern Brown Bandicoot 

Getting on the Bandi-wagon

We’re proud to partner with Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne (RBGC) to support and encourage local councils, developers and communities to create bandicoot-friendly suburbs in the south-east. The Southern Brown Bandicoot program helps wildlife live side-by-side with us, and residents to connect with and value nature. Work has begun on establishing habitat corridors to help bandicoots safely navigate through residential areas.


New growth for rare Button Wrinklewort

Once widespread south of the Great Dividing Range, this small native daisy is now restricted to small patches in south-western Victoria and around Melbourne.

To help boost population numbers, we’re working with La Trobe University to collect wild Button Wrinklewort seeds, which will be grown in a specialist nursery. The new plants will be reintroduced at several key sites, including Truganina Cemetery and St Albans railway station.

Page last updated: 01/06/23