Birregurra Structure Plan


In 2013 Council adopted the current Birregurra Structure Plan. This Plan is a critical planning document that outlines the long-term development framework for the township of Birregurra and its surrounding areas. It took into account the outcomes of a 2012 Neighbourhood Character Study and was the basis for a planning scheme amendment that introduced new planning controls across the township.

The current Structure Plan was endorsed by Council in 2013 after an intensive period of community engagement.

The plan is now 10 years old and in need of review.

Key factors driving the review of the Birregurra Structure Plan include:

  • A need for timely review of housing and residential land supply to determine whether in-fill land can accommodate expected population growth.
  • Improvements to infrastructure such as connection to sewerage, improved rail services and duplication of the Princes Highway, which may further stimulate population growth.
  • A perceived changing demographic (more younger families) which may require different housing and infrastructure needs.
  • More people working from home in a way not previously contemplated.
  • A need to review planning controls to check whether they have been effective in achieving the preferred built form character for Birregurra.
  • Updated mapping of flood prone areas.
  • State and regional planning policy reforms over the past ten years.

Birregurra-Township-Aerial-View.jpg Study Area

The Study Area for the project is focused on the Birregurra township as shown in Figure 1 (featured right).

Figure 1 shows the extent of the current township boundary of Birregurra.

The Study Area will also include adjacent rural land surrounding Birregurra.

It will include all public land including road reserves, crown land, creeks and recreational areas within and surrounding the town.

Role of Structure Plans

A Structure Plan is a strategic planning document that sets out Council’s preferred direction for future growth and provides policy direction for how development will be managed, including that land required to meet the housing needs of an area for at least 15 years.

It also seeks to respond to changing community needs and aspirations.

Structure plans guide major changes to land use, built form, access and movement networks, and public spaces that together can achieve environmental, social and economic outcomes for a place.

A structure plan also provides the framework for statutory planning controls that can be implemented through the Colac Otway Planning Scheme to guide decisions Council will make on planning applications.

Objectives for the Birregurra Structure Plan Review

The main objectives and deliverables of the project are to:

  • Deliver an updated analysis of land supply available for future in-fill housing within the current town boundaries.
  • Identification of where future growth should occur if further land is required to meet forecast population growth, ensuring housing affordability.
  • A review and recommendations regarding the effectiveness of planning controls over subdivision and development.
  • An up-to-date structure plan for Birregurra that reflects contemporary community needs.
  • A review of bushfire risk and consideration of the risk of bushfire in planning for the future of the town.


The project will commence in February 2024 and will take approximately 12 months to complete. 

Birregurra Community Reference Group – Expression of Interest

BIrregurra Community Reference Group - Expression of Interest

Colac Otway Shire Council is undertaking an Expression of Interest process to invite residents to be part of a Community Reference Group (CRG) to help Council with the review.

The CRG is a ‘Special Purpose Committee” which is being established for the express purpose of providing effective community input into the project and will only be in operation for the duration of the project. It will not have any decision-making powers.

Nominations are now being sought to align with commencement of the project.

Councillors will be asked to confirm the members of the CRG at a future Council meeting.

A CRG is being established to support community engagement occurring for the review.

CRG Membership

Membership will include individuals who reflect the diversity of the Birregurra resident population and will include a varied demographic profile with regard to age, gender, and place of residence.

The CRG will include eight to ten residents of Birregurra and should generally represent people who have their primary place of residence in Birregurra or the surrounding area.

CRG Roles and Responsibilities

The role of the CRG is to:

  • Provide feedback or commentary about matters related to the Birregurra Structure Plan review project.
  • Promote awareness of the Birregurra Structure Plan review project within the broader Birregurra community.

Members of the CRG are responsible for:

  • Ensuring active participation in meetings by all members through attendance and contributing to discussions.
  • Reviewing relevant information or documents. 
  • Adhering to the Ground Rules for Behaviour.
  • Managing and reporting individual member’s conflicts of interest.
  • Maintaining confidentiality where required.
  • Meeting as requested by the Chair, generally in accordance with the Terms of Reference. 


Four or five meetings will be on required at various milestones during the project.

Meetings including dates, times and venue arrangements will be determined on the basis of what suits the CRG the best. 

The purpose of the meetings will be to:

  • Facilitate understanding of planning requirements and processes to inform the group’s discussion
  • Facilitate group discussion about the project and specific issues
  • Facilitate understanding of different perspectives within the group
  • Provide an opportunity to contribute ideas and feedback to inform the review of the structure plan.

Members are required to attend all meetings, or to advise the chairperson in writing that they are unable to attend the meeting at least five hours prior to the meeting occurring.

If a community member is absent from more than three meetings, their membership from the group shall be suspended. 

Conflict of Interest

Prospective members of the CRG must declare any property interests within the study area, or any property interests that relatives or close associates may have in the study area as part of the Expression of Interest process.

As an on-going project governance practice, CRG members must declare any conflicts of interest prior to the discussion of issues or at any time a conflict of interest, or potential conflict of interest arises.

A conflict of interest may be real, potential, or perceived in nature and may refer to situations in which personal, occupational or financial consideration may affect or appear to affect the objectivity or fairness of discussions related to the defined activities.

Individuals must declare potential conflicts to the CRG Chairperson and must either absent themselves from the discussion or put the decision to the collective on whether they should absent themselves.

CRG Terms of Reference

How to apply

What gender do you identify as? * (required)

Age * (required)

Do you identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person? * (required)

Do you own land in or near the Birregurra, or does anyone in your immediate family own land in the area, or do you have any other direct financial interest in relation to the land within the area? * (required)

Acceptance of CRG Terms of Reference
I have read the Birregurra Structure Plan Review Community Reference Group Terms of Reference and agree to participate in the CRG in accordance with them. * (required)