This page relates to regulatory requirements for landowners or developers with conservation areas on their land, or infrastructure and utility providers seeking approval to constructs works within conservation areas.

The Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for Melbourne’s Growth Corridors (BCS) identifies 36 areas (covering over 4000 hectares) within the MSA program area which are to be protected as conservation areas.

The conservation areas are protected by:

the conditions of the Commonwealth approvals for urban development in Melbourne’s growth corridors

  • the requirements of the BCS
  • zoning and overlay controls which apply under the relevant planning schemes

If your land is in a conservation area, those parts of your property in the conservation area will not be available for urban development.

You may continue to use and manage your land in the same manner as you have over recent years.

The planning controls (zones and/or overlays) that apply to your land may, however, affect your ability to change the use or to develop your land. Planning provisions will require you to secure the conservation area portion of your land if you seek a planning permit to develop the developable portion of your land.

For all inquiries about changing land uses, please contact your local Council in the first instance for advice on planning permits. If necessary, the Council will refer your planning permit application to DELWP for further consideration.

Further information

All proposed works within a conservation area identified in the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy required DELWP approval. Proposals that would result in a net loss in habitat for a Matter of National Environmental Significance also require agreement from the Commonwealth Government.

Detail on the application requirements, DELWP's decision making criteria for assessing applications and the type of proposal that requires Commonwealth Government approval is outlined in the Guidance Note: Implementing the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy in Melbourne’s Growth Corridors (Working Document)

In general, the boundaries of the conservation areas depicted in the BCS are to be considered final. DELWP will sometimes amend boundaries slightly during the Precinct Structure Planning process. In other instances, boundaries have been adapted based on updated information about the biodiversity values present on the site.

If you wish to make a case for a change of conservation area boundaries, the relevant decision criteria can be found in the Guidance Note: Implementing the Biodiversity Strategy in Melbourne's Growth Corridors (Working Document). For a list of boundaries changes that have been approved since the publication of the BCS, see here.

To ensure that the conservation areas can be appropriately protected and managed for conservation purposes, conservation area land will be either:

  • kept in private ownership, but subject to an on-title agreement
  • vested in a public authority
  • in some cases, subject to an offer of voluntary negotiated sale to the Crown.

If part of your property is designated as conservation area, you will be required to secure the conservation area land when development is under way on the developable area of the parcel containing the conservation area land. For more information on securing conservation area land as a condition of the development of your land, see the following guidance:

MSA Planning Guidance Note - Meeting the condition: Security of conservation land (PDF,  557KB)

MSA Planning Guidance Note - Meeting the condition: Security of conservation land (DOCX, 2.23MB)

More information

For more information about the MSA program's conservation areas, please contact

Page last updated: 12/05/23