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Ninety Mile Beach Plan

The Ninety Mile Beach subdivision is a 25-kilometre strip of land located between Bass Strait and Lake Reeve, which extends north of the Honeysuckles to Paradise Beach.
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The land was subdivided into about 11,800 small lots from 1955 to 1969 prior to the introduction of planning controls. Lots were sold by development companies using vigorous marketing campaigns to thousands of people and in many cases to new migrants in Australia.

Much of the area is now inappropriate for development (e.g. due to flooding, lack of services etc). Areas unsuitable for development are contained in the Rural Conservation Zone. In contrast, land contained in the Low Density Residential Zone in the Honeysuckles and Golden Beach/Paradise Beach settlements can be developed with planning permit approval.

Note: The map above is conceptual only. Specific zoning and overlay information for a property may be obtained from our Property Zoning and Overlays page.

Victorian Ombudsman Report

Due to the complex history of the Ninety Mile Beach subdivisions (and associated landowner concerns), the Victorian Ombudsman prepared a report which was tabled in the Victorian Parliament. A copy of the Ombudsman report can be accessed via: https://www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au/our-impact/investigation-reports/investigation-into-wellington-shire-councils-handling-of-ninety-mile-beach-subdivisons/

Council welcomes the independent review of the complex issues associated with the Ninety Mile Beach subdivisions, and supported each of the three (3) recommendations made for Council at its meeting of 3 December 2019. Council has commenced preparations to progressively implement each of the recommendations. More information will be issued to affected landowners when it is ready.

It is important to note that the Ombudsman has clearly identified that Council’s recent actions have been lawful and competently handled, but it is recognised that improved communication strategies can be put in place. This includes a mapping facility to enable landowners to determine the category of their land by searching their property address.

The Ninety Mile Beach Undevelopable Land Map can be searched by property street address or property assessment number (the 6-digit number shown on a rate notice). Undevelopable land is shown in red (Rural Conservation Zoned land – planning controls do not allow any development). Developable land (subject to the grant of a planning permit by Council and compliance with planning controls) is shown in green.

Ninety Mile Beach Vacant Undevelopable Land - Rates Refund Application Process

For information regarding the Ninety Mile Beach vacant undevelopable land rates refund application process click here.

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Introduction

The Ninety Mile Beach subdivision is a 25 kilometre strip of ocean foreshore and sand terrain between Bass Strait and Lake Reeve. It was subdivided into about 11,800 small urban sized lots from 1955 to 1969. It is in an area from Paradise Beach in the north east to The Honeysuckles in the south west.

The land was first subdivided without planning controls. The developer only provided a main sealed road along the coast (Shoreline Drive) and very little of the promised facilities or services were ever built. Only the main settlements of Golden and Paradise Beaches and The Honeysuckles are now serviced with electricity and no reticulated water or sewerage was provided. The lots were sold by development companies using vigorous marketing campaigns to thousands of people and in many cases to new migrants to Australia.

Some dwellings were built without services on the primary sand dunes and on flood prone land. The development along the Ninety Mile Beach became a State Government issue and from the mid 1970’s further development was prevented while they carried out detailed studies.

In 1978 the Shire of Rosedale and the State Government sent letters to landowners to advise that their land was in one of the following categories:

  • Development Land - Suitable for low density housing
  • Beach Dune Land - Unstable soil and not suitable for development
  • Land affected by flooding by Lake Reeve - Unsuitable for development.

From 1979 strict restructure and tenement controls limited or prohibited development.

More recent studies between 2003 and 2008 found that development should be reduced further for environmental reasons including bushfire. See the following documents:

Current Situation

The current situation is different for each category of land within the Ninety Mile Beach area. The categories are:

  • Settlements: Golden Beach/Paradise Beach and The Honeysuckles
  • Between Settlements of Golden Beach and The Honeysuckles including Glomar Beach
  • Beach dune land/Coastal dune lots
  • Flood affected land/Flood prone lots

See our maps which show the outline of categorised areas and provide other specific details for each vicinity or region:

Settlements: Golden Beach/Paradise Beach and The Honeysuckles

Council adopted the preferred settlement pattern of urban nodes in the Wellington Coast Subdivision Strategy in 2005. Settlement boundary plans for Golden Beach/Paradise Beach and The Honeysuckles were included in the Wellington Planning Scheme in June 2011. These plans guide where development is encouraged (subject to permit).

The settlements are zoned Low Density Residential Zone. Development requires a Planning Permit and must comply with the Wellington Planning Scheme and the restructure and tenement provisions. In some cases a dwelling can be built on 1 lot, in other cases; 4 lots should be in the same ownership before land can be developed.

Planning controls are often complex and difficult to understand so any purchaser or landowner wishing to develop land should contact us to find out the requirements from a Statutory Planner on 1300 366 244.

Between Settlements of Golden Beach and The Honeysuckles including Glomar Beach

The 'Between Settlements Area' is from Firefly Road at Golden Beach and along the coast for 10.8 kilometres to just past Glomar Beach at Vegas Way. This area is Restructure Plan Stages 7 to 22. You can view each Restructure Plan Stage on the Between Settlements R7, R8, R9, R10, R11, R12, R13, R14, R15, R16, R17, R18, R19, R20, R21 and R22 document.

From 1978, this was known as a low density housing area, and owners had to consolidate their land into restructure lots, usually 4 lots before they could develop their land. Owners could do this by selling their land or by purchasing more lots and they had 30 years to do this.

Development of single lots has not been permitted since 1979 and the first full moratorium, which is a prohibition of development started in December 2007.

The former 4 lot restructure lots were removed from the Wellington Planning Scheme in June 2011 and the land was rezoned to Rural Conservation Zone by Planning Scheme Amendment C71.

As a consequence development is prohibited on all lots in this area including former restructure lots with some limited exceptions on larger completed restructure lots in Glomar Beach. Existing lawful dwellings have existing use rights.

Between Settlements: Ninety Mile Beach Plan Voluntary Assistance Scheme

The Ninety Mile Beach Plan Voluntary Assistance Scheme was introduced for vacant land that cannot be developed. Council has a funding agreement with the State Government which started in June 2011 for $6 million. It provides affected landowners with the opportunity to voluntarily transfer their land to Council for a voluntary assistance payment.

The amount offered is based on independent advice from the Victorian Valuer-General and is non-negotiable. For single lots the amount is $1,500 (less outstanding rates and charges) per lot which is three times the Council valuation of a single lot. If owners owe more than $1,500 in rates, they do not receive a payment but their rates debt does not have to be paid.

Owners do not have to transfer their land to Council as the scheme is voluntary and Council is not compulsorily acquiring land from owners who have registered in writing that they are unwilling to transfer their land. However, if owners keep their land it is in the knowledge that the land cannot be developed.

The benefit for landowners is that once the title has been transferred into Council’s name, owners will no longer receive rates notices or other letters from Council and will no longer be responsible for land that cannot be developed.

Land transfers commenced in mid January 2012, and since that time more than 1,460 lots have been transferred to Council voluntarily and a further 440 have been compulsorily acquired by Council. This adds to more than 1,000 lots that were already in Council ownership which is now more than 80% of the vacant lots in the ‘Between Settlements Area’.

Whilst the voluntary assistance scheme was due to close on 30 June 2015, the scheme was extended until 2021 to include other categories of land and to give more time to resolve the Ninety Mile Beach subdivisions. Therefore, transfers of land and payments (where applicable) to landowners continue to be received and processed.

If you are a landowner and you wish to transfer your land, you should contact Council to speak to an officer about the Ninety Mile Beach Plan on 1300 366 244. If it is established that your land is in the affected area, we can send you a Ninety Mile Beach Plan Voluntary Assistance Scheme Expression of Interest Form 2A and transfer of land paperwork.

If you do not wish to transfer your land and you have not yet registered your decision, you should contact Council on 1300 366 244 and we can send you a Form 2A to fill in and return.

You can also find out more information from the Ninety Mile Beach Plan Frequently Asked Questions Sheet Form 2 (Revised May 2017).

Between Settlements: Compulsory Acquisition of Land

At its Council meeting on Tuesday 16 August 2016, Council resolved to commence the statutory process to compulsorily acquire vacant land in the ‘between settlements area’ south-west of the township of Golden Beach.

The statutory process was carried out between January 2017 and April 2017 for approximately 440 properties where Council was unable to contact the owner despite an extensive process of engagement, diligent enquiries and detailed searches to locate them since 2011.

The statutory process included the placing of  ‘Notice of Intention to Acquire’ on land in the areas of Golden, Flamingo and Glomar Beaches and a publication in the Herald Sun newspaper on 18 January 2017.

Notices of Acquisition were placed on the land and published in the Government Gazette, the Herald Sun and Gippsland Times in late March and early April 2017. Further acquisitions are being carried out in accordance with legislative requirements and where Council is unable to contact the owner despite an extensive process of engagement, diligent enquiries and detailed searches to locate them.

Now more than 80% of the vacant lots in the ‘Between Settlements Area’ are publicly owned. This acquisition is of benefit to the general community as Council will be able to plan public land management strategies in the future with relevant agencies and government departments.

Council has no plans to compulsorily acquire land from owners who have already registered with us in writing indicating that they do not wish to transfer their land to Council. Council will continue to attempt to engage with owners who appear to have a valid contact address in our records but who have yet to reply to the voluntary assistance scheme.

Coastal Dune Lots

This land is also known as the coastal dunes or narrow dunes. This land is generally in coastal strips of land between Shoreline Drive and the beach in the ‘Between Settlements Area’ between Golden Beach and The Honeysuckles.

Development is not permitted in these areas because of the fragile coastal dune system.

The coastal dune lots are located in Restructure Plan Stages R25/26, R27/28, R29, R30, R31, R32 and Lots 1588-1610 in LP82059.

From 1978 to the late 1980’s owners of these lots were offered $700 to sell each lot to the Crown as part of the ‘Beach Dune Buy Back Scheme’. Many people transferred their land to the Crown but some lots are still privately owned. The scheme closed many years ago.

A new voluntary assistance scheme for vacant and privately owned coastal dune lots commenced in July 2017. Affected owners with a postal address in Council rate records have been sent information in the mail to let them know how they can participate. Where Council does not have a postal address for an affected owner, diligent enquiries and detailed searches to locate them are carried out.

The scheme operates in the same way as the “Between Settlements: Ninety Mile Beach Plan Voluntary Assistance Scheme”, however landowners who participate complete a Ninety Mile Beach Plan Voluntary Assistance Scheme Expression of Interest Form 2D (instead of a Form 2A).

You can also find out more information from the Ninety Mile Beach Plan Frequently Asked Questions Sheet Form 2 (Revised May 2017).

At its Council meeting on 19 December 2017, Council resolved to commence the statutory process to compulsorily acquire land in the ‘coastal dunes’ where persons with an interest in land cannot be contacted after the conduct of diligent enquiries.

The statutory process was carried out between February and May 2018, for 43 properties where Council was unable to contact the owner despite an extensive process of engagement, diligent enquiries and detailed searches to locate them.

The statutory process included the placing of ‘Notice of Intention to Acquire’ on land in the affected areas, and publication in the Herald Sun newspaper on 15 February 2018. Notices of Acquisition were placed on the land and published in the Government Gazette, the Herald Sun and Gippsland Times in late April and early May 2018.

Further compulsory acquisitions are being carried out in accordance with legislative requirements and where Council is unable to contact the owner despite an extensive process of engagement, diligent enquiries and detailed searches to locate them.

Council has no plans to compulsorily acquire land from owners who have already registered with us in writing indicating that they do not wish to transfer their land to Council. Council will continue to attempt to engage with owners who appear to have a valid contact address in our records but who have yet to reply to the voluntary assistance scheme.

Flood Prone Lots: Ninety Mile Beach Voluntary Transfer Scheme

There are 2,700 vacant flood prone lots located on the 2 Lake Reeve Islands, in Paradise Beach north and on areas next to Lake Reeve near Golden Beach and on the edge of The Honeysuckles. Planning controls do not allow development on all lots in this area because of flooding, high ground water levels and to protect the lakes environment. There are no dwellings on the Lake Reeve Islands; however, there are a few existing lawful dwellings built prior to 1978 in the Paradise Beach flood prone area and these dwellings have existing use rights.

The flood prone lots are located in Restructure Plan Stages R24, R33, R34, R35/36, R37 Sheet 1 and R37 Sheet 2.

The Ninety Mile Beach Plan voluntary transfer scheme is underway for vacant flood prone lots that cannot be developed. It provides the opportunity for landowners to voluntarily transfer their land to Council for a payment that is equal to the valuation of the lot (less outstanding rates at the time of transfer). Flood prone lots typically have a valuation of $100 each. If the rates and charges owed are more than the payment offer, this debt to Council will be waived at the time of transfer of the land to Council.

Owners do not have to transfer their land to Council as the scheme is voluntary and Council is not compulsorily acquiring land from owners who have registered in writing that they are unwilling to transfer their land. However, if owners keep their land it is in the knowledge that the land cannot be developed.

The benefit for landowners is that once the title has been transferred into Council’s name, owners will no longer receive rates notices or other letters from Council and will no longer be responsible for land that cannot be developed.

The scheme operates in a similar way to the Between Settlements and Coastal Dune Ninety Mile Beach Plan Voluntary Assistance Schemes, however landowners who participate complete a Ninety Mile Beach Plan Voluntary Transfer Scheme Expression of Interest Form 2F (instead of a Form 2A or 2D).

If you are a landowner and you wish to transfer your land, you should contact Council to speak to an officer about the Ninety Mile Beach Plan on 1300 366 244. If it is confirmed that your land is in the affected area, we can send you a Ninety Mile Beach Plan Voluntary Transfer Scheme Expression of Interest Form 2F and transfer of land paperwork.

If you do not wish to transfer your land and you have not yet registered your decision, you should contact Council on 1300 366 244 and we can send you a Form 2F to fill in and return.

You can also find out more information from the Ninety Mile Beach Plan Frequently Asked Questions November 2018 Flood Prone Lots.

Flood Prone Lots: Ninety Mile Beach Compulsory Acquisition (address unknowns)

There are approximately 1,000 rated owners of 1,200 flood prone lots with a postal ‘address unknown’. Council has not been able to write to these owners about the voluntary transfer scheme. The significant number of address unknowns is a result of rate notices not being sent out for these properties from 1979 to 2006 and many owners have not notified Council of change of address or ownership.

Extensive searches for these owners or their representatives by external contractors have been in progress since May 2020. This includes online database searches, phone calls and probate searches of deceased estates where applicable.

Voluntary transfer offers are progressively being sent out where an address is found.

At its Council meeting on 18 August 2020, Council resolved to commence the statutory process to compulsorily acquire flood prone land only where persons with an interest in specified land cannot be contacted after the conduct of diligent enquiries or are willing but unable to transfer land to Council.

Although the searches are not yet completed, it is expected that approximately 750 individual lots will be subject to the compulsory acquisition process.

It is anticipated that the statutory process will be ready to commence later this calendar year. This will include the service of notices in a newspaper circulating in the state, and notices placed on the affected land (as the notices cannot be ‘served’ on the persons with an interest in the land as they had not been found after the conduct of diligent enquiry).

The voluntary transfer scheme and compulsory acquisition (where owners cannot be found) will result in undevelopable privately-owned flood prone land being transferred into public ownership. These processes help to implement the report recommendations of the Victorian Ombudsman into the Ninety Mile Beach subdivisions.

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Documents Available for Public Inspection

Council maintain a range of documents and registers for public inspection in accordance with the Local Government Act 1989 and the Local Government (General) Regulations 2004 - these are shown below.


Note: The Auditors Report is incorporated within the Annual Report.

The documents below can also be viewed at our Sale or Yarram Service Centres.

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In addition, the following documents are also available for public inspection at the Sale Service Centre:

  • Authorised Officers
  • Council Meeting Agendas and Minutes
  • Councillor Code of Conduct
  • Councillor Reimbursement Policy
  • Delegations
  • Election Campaign Donation Returns Register
  • List of all Leases
  • List of Donations and Grants
  • Procurement Policy
  • Record of Assembly of Councillors
  • Register of Interests Travel Register
  • Details of Chief Executive Officer reappointment and total remuneration

To arrange an inspection, please contact Council.

Annual Report

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Council Budget

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Council Plan and Vision

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Council Strategies and Plans

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Page last updated:
Friday, October 30, 2020
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