Dear Editor,

The Draft Urban Framework is supposed to be committed to a community consultation but it takes a lot of persistence to get basic data. I joined the Hepburn Shire early webinar on the Draft Urban Framework  and asked a question about the size of the area enclosed in the Daylesford/Hepburn town boundaries compared to Creswick to which Council Officer Ron Torres said they would get back to me. Mr Torres was quoted in “The Age”  on 27 May saying the Daylesford/ Hepburn area was 1200 hectares.

A couple of weeks after the webinar when I heard nothing, I sent a request in writing and then a follow up to the CEO on June 6 and still no response. After Councillor intervention, I received a phone call from the Planning Project officer on the 19th of June who asked me why I wanted to know. After some discussion, I received the following information, The gross area for Creswick is 610ha and the gross area for Daylesford-Hepburn Springs is 1200ha.

At the last census in 2021 comparative figures between Creswick and Daylesford are interesting:


Population Private Dwellings Occupied Unoccupied Occupied Houses Unoccupied Houses Median Rent
Crewick 3170 1570 1323 124 84.6% 11.6%  $ 275
Daylesford 2781 1961 1264 578 68.7% 31.4%  $ 350
Hepburn 631 397 273 100 73.0% 27.7%
Hepburn Springs 368 330 174 134 73.0% 27.7%  $ 341
Combined Daylesford, Hepburn, Hepburn Springs 3780 2688 1711 812 56.7% 43.3%  $ 347
Australia 89.9% 10.1%

(Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics: Census Quick Stats)

Creswick houses  a population almost as large as Daylesford/ Hepburn with a township half the size, with similar risks of floods and bushfires. The major difference is the increase in the number of unoccupied houses in Daylesford/Hepburn and the decrease in housing affordability. Perhaps we should concentrate on that, rather than expanding the town boundaries.

This raises another question- what is happening to the planning approval given to the developer and previous owner of Rex who bought the land in 2017 at 59 Main Rd ( the old Hepburn Depot ) and received planning approval to build. Reasonable sized housing allotments with planning approval are not proceeding while the Council seeks to extend town boundaries.

Jennifer Beacham
Hepburn Springs