16th March 2021
Hanna Swamp is a 60 hectare wetland, just south of Wallan in the upper Merri catchment. Although it has been drained for agriculture, it still functions as an ephemeral wetland, and FoMC considers it well worthy of restoration. Part of Hanna Swamp lies within the Beveridge North West Precinct Structure Plan (PSP), but the draft PSP ignored it in planning for urban development. Mark Bachmann (Nature Glenelg Trust) and Ann McGregor appeared for the Friends before the Beveridge North West Planning Panel hearing in August 2020. The 87-page written submission and verbal presentation covered biodiversity and ecological restoration, the need for a biodiversity habitat corridor network, planning for Wallan Regional Park, sodic and dispersive soils, as well as a very thorough explanation of the values and restoration potential of the Swamp. The Panel noted in their report that a significant portion of Hanna Swamp is in the Wallan South PSP area, and encouragingly, that there should be further investigation into how the Swamp might be protected, its natural values restored and utilised in planning for both PSPs. “To do otherwise would be a significant lost opportunity.” (Panel report, p. 102). We have since written to Minister Wynne, requesting that the Victorian Planning Authority implement the Panel’s recommendations. We await the final Beveridge North West PSP, and the ‘fast-tracked’ Wallan South PSP, which will determine the fate of Hanna Swamp.