Current Strategic Projects

Council undertakes strategic studies in order to plan for the development and use of land into the future.  Once a study has been completed, Council may undertake a planning scheme amendment. This may update the Planning Scheme to reflect the findings and recommendations of the study.

Current studies underway in Central Goldfields:

Economic Development Strategy

 This strategy was adopted at Council on 24 March 2020 (Council also adopted the Tourism and Events Strategy which is accessed via the Tourism and Events page). This finished strategy is captured in two draft documents:

The final strategy will be available soon.

Further information

For further information on the Economic Development Strategy, contact Philip Schier, Manager Strategy and Economic Development, on 5461 0610 or email

Population, Housing and Residential Settlement Strategy

 Central Goldfields Shire Council has completed a draft of the Population, Housing and Residential Settlement Strategy.

The purpose of the strategy is to provide direction for residential growth and form under a range of growth scenarios, in order to meet the anticipated needs of the Shire’s population from 2020-2035. Council has engaged Spatial Economics to undertake research and data analysis to provide an evidence base for decisions about how and where future residential growth should be directed.  

The three growth scenarios proposed are:

  1. The official state (VIF 2019) projection. This scenario would see population growth averaging 0.4% per year - or total growth of 815 people over the life of the strategy.
  2. A trend growth scenario based upon, and anticipating a continuation of, the average growth rates seen in recent years. Central Goldfields’ population has been growing faster than the rate forecast by VIF 2019. This growth scenario would see population growth averaging 0.6% per year - or total growth of 1412 people.
  3. A third higher growth scenario that assumes accelerating population growth in Central Goldfields Shire driven by a ‘spill over’ of ongoing rapid growth in Melbourne, Ballarat and Bendigo. This would result in the current trend of 0.6% annual growth accelerating over time to 1.3%, with an average of 0.8%.

Each scenario is accompanied by a dwelling growth projection that exceeds population growth in percentage terms. This is due to a decreasing average household size (more dwellings with one or two residents, largely due to an ageing population). Therefore, average growth in housing demand would equate to 0.6% a year under Scenario 1, 0.8% per year under Scenario 2, or 1.1% per year under Scenario 3.

Because it is impossible to predict exactly how future growth will unfold, an approach based on a range of plausible scenarios enables flexibility to respond according to actual needs.

The detailed analysis also addresses issues such as:

  • The form and size of housing that the Central Goldfields community is likely to need.
  • Where the demand has been and is likely to be – which towns? Which rural living areas?
  • The implications of constraints such as -
    • a ‘natural urban growth boundary’ of forest surrounding Maryborough;
    • extensive heritage overlay areas in Maryborough, in some places covering many properties of limited heritage value;
    • the lack of reticulated sewerage in Talbot.
  • An oversupply of land zoned Rural Living in relatively remote areas, while there is a need for more manageable ‘lifestyle’ lots closer townships and services.
  • Responding to the need for affordable housing through community housing approaches.
  • How Council planning processes can assist in meeting residential growth needs.


How can I get Involved?

Council is keen to get your feedback on the draft strategy, prior to it being considered for adoption at a forthcoming Ordinary Meeting of Council.

You can access the draft strategy here(PDF, 3MB) . The Executive Summary captures the key recommendations that are proposed; you can read the background data and analysis as well if you wish to.

Please submit your feedback by Monday 27 April, 2020

Email is preferred:

Hard copy can be posted to:

Central Goldfields Shire Council

Attention: Strategic Planning

22 Nolan Street, Maryborough VIC 3465

Further information

For further information on the Population, Housing and Residential Settlement Strategy, contact Philip Schier, Manager Strategy and Economic Development, on 5461 0610 or email

Central Goldfields Shire Council Planning Scheme Review

Council is required to review the Central Goldfields Planning Scheme every four years, in order enhance its effectiveness and efficiency.  The review must evaluate the Scheme to ensure that it

  • meets Ministerial guidelines;
  • sets out effectively the policy objectives for use and development of land in the municipality;
  • is effective in applying State and local policy objectives.

What is the review process?

Data and evidence are collected.

The Consultant will compile existing data and information for the municipality, review the performance of the current planning scheme and factor in broader strategic trends to inform the key strategic directions for the future.

Issues and Options paper

The summary of evidence collected so far is compiled into an issues and options paper [see link below].

Community input

We sought community input and feedback to ensure that we hear and understand the key issues that people feel the planning scheme should address.

Planning Scheme Review Report

We will use the feedback we receive from the community and other key stakeholders to draft the Planning Scheme Review Report. We anticipate that the final report, taking into account community submissions, will be ready for Council to consider early in 2020.

Adoption by Council

The Review Report is adopted by Council and submitted to the Minister for Planning.

Implement the actions and recommendations

Council will consider the actions and recommendations outlined in the review report. Implementation of some immediate priority issues and recommendations may be undertaken through the process of a planning scheme amendment. The amendment process will provide opportunities for further community consultation. Recommendations that require further work will help shape Council’s strategic planning program for the coming years.

What we have done so far

In the first round of consultation, our consultant held discussions with referral authorities and experienced council staff.   Further consultation involved an email to regular planning scheme users and an open community drop-in session in Maryborough.  In these forums we asked the stakeholders to define their aspirations for Central Goldfields, what they wanted to see stay the same and what they wanted to change. A result of this is the Issues and Options(PDF, 618KB) paper.

Our consultant is developing the final Planning Scheme Review report which will be presented to Council for adoption.   

Further information

For further information on the Central Goldfields Planning Scheme Review, contact Amy Bell, Strategic Planner, on 5461 0685 or email