Amendment C189 - Canopy Trees in Merri-bek

About Amendment C189

Council’s vision for the future is to create sustainable neighbourhoods that promote the overall health and wellbeing of our residents. To help get closer towards this vision, Council is taking actions towards greening our municipality by increasing the amount of trees and vegetation.

Amendment C189 implements this vision and actions of the Moreland Urban Forest Strategy (PDF 9Mb), Moreland Urban Heat Island Action Plan (DOC 48Mb) and Medium Density Housing Review (PDF 30Mb) that recommend increasing tree canopy cover in new development to improve the quality of new dwellings to benefit those who live within them as well as the broader Merri-bek community.

What does Amendment C189 do?

Amendment C189 proposes to introduce new landscaping requirements in the Merri-bek Planning Scheme that will:

  • Ensure canopy trees are included in the design of new dwellings
  • Ensure there is enough space for new canopy trees to be able to grow
  • Provide greater clarity to applicants and property owners when designing development with multiple dwellings

This amendment affects all land zoned Neighbourhood Residential Zone, General Residential Zone, Residential Growth Zone and Mixed Use Zone and focuses on development of two or more dwellings.

How will the Merri-bek Planning Scheme change?

The key changes to the Moreland Planning Scheme are:

  1. New tree planting requirements within the Residential Zone Schedules
  2. Modifying Local Policy and the Merri-bek Tree Planting Manual for Residential Zones to be consistent with the new tree planting requirements
  3. Replace the reference document Moreland Landscape Guidelines (2009) (DOC 1Mb) with the updated Moreland Urban Forest Strategy (2017-2027) (PDF 9Mb).
    (PDF 9Mb)

Planning Panel Victoria Review

On 19 February 2020 a one person Panel was appointed to review the eight Submissions received to Amendment C189. As no submitters wished to present their submissions to the Panel, the consideration of the Amendment was undertaken by the Panel with no formal hearing. 

Council received the Amendment C189 Panel Report on 17 April 2020. On 12 May 2020, the Panel issued an updated Panel Report to correct minor referencing errors. A copy of the corrected Amendment C189 Panel Report can be accessed here  (PDF 529Kb) 

Council's consideration of the recommendations of the Panel is planned for the 10 June 2020 Council meeting.

Council's consideration of submissions

Submissions closed on Friday 20 December 2019. Thank you to those who made a submission. Council considered all submissions at the 12 February 2020 Council meeting, where Council resolved to make no changes to the Amendment and refer all submissions to Planning Panels Victoria. 

The 12 February Council Report and associated attachments can be viewed here 12 February Council Meeting Agenda (PDF 30Mb).


Council submitted the Amendment C189 package to the Minister for Planning on 25 June 2020 following Council's resolution to at the 12 February Council meeting. The Minister for Planning will now review the Amendment and make a final decision, expected in late 2020/early 2021.

Does this amendment protect existing trees?

Whilst this amendment does not specifically focus on the removal of existing trees, encouraging a design that factors in existing trees by Council Officers will continue, with any retained trees counted towards the new tree canopy requirements.

What else is Council doing to increase the number of trees?

Council has committed to making changes to ensure canopy cover is also increasing in the public spaces through a number of initiatives including:

  • Strategic change in approach to plant larger trees to maximise canopy cover
  • Annual tree planting program commitment to planting 5,000 new trees per year
  • New Urban Forestry Officer to implement planting program
  • Prioritising planting within areas more vulnerable to urban heat
  • Improving irrigation of open spaces
  • Transitioning to a zero carbon Council
  • Commitment to creating two new parks in this Council term

Find the right tree for the right space

Our Tree Finder Tool assists in choosing an appropriate trees species and includes a number of searchable options including the purpose of the tree, size of the open space area and the size of a tree.

Where to inspect Amendment C189 documents?

All documents that support this amendment can be found electronically on the right hand side of this web page.

The amendment can also be inspected on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.

The planning authority must make a copy of every submission available at its office for any person to inspect free of charge for two months after the amendment comes into operation or lapses.

Further Information

For further information or to discuss how the changes might affect you please phone Council's Strategic Planning Team on 9384 9215 or email Strategic Planning.

There are documents on this page in PDF-only format. If you have trouble opening or viewing a PDF document, contact Council and we will arrange to provide the information in a format that suits your needs. See Council's accessibility page for further details


Please be aware that Merri-bek City Council collects information from organisations and individuals during the planning scheme amendment process through submissions made to an Amendment. Submissions may be hand written, electronic (both written and audio-visual) and often contain images, maps and plans. Submissions frequently contain personal information which at times may be sensitive for commercial, health or other reasons.
Natural justice and transparency are important parts of the Planning Scheme Amendment process. Under section 21(2) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic), Council must make all submissions to an Amendment available to view by any person at its offices for a period of two months after the Amendment is gazetted or lapses. This includes all personal names, telephone and address details, unless specifically requested to be deleted prior to the submission being made publicly available.

Submissions are used by Council when assessing the Amendment and summaries of submissions are included in any Council report that considers the Amendment following the close of exhibition.

Publication of Submissions on Council’s Website

Council will make all submissions available to view online on its website during the Planning Scheme Amendment process. All submissions made available online will be redacted to remove personal names, telephone and address details. Submissions will be removed from the website once the Amendment is finalised.

Use of your personal information

In accordance with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic) and Health Records Act 2001 (Vic) the personal information submitted by you is being collected by Merri-bek City Council for the submission process and it will not be disclosed to any other external party without your consent, except as a requirement of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic). This includes disclosing your personal information upon request (name and address only) to any person during the Planning Scheme Amendment process.
If you do not provide your name and address Council will not be able to consider your submission.
You can gain access to the personal information you have provided to Merri-bek City Council and if you wish to alter it, please contact Council’s Privacy Officer via telephone on 9384 9111 or email at

For more information regarding privacy please visit our Privacy page.