What we are asking

Help us to protect and enhance the Briars – a precious community asset and tourism attraction for residents and visitors, who frequent the walking trails and picnic areas, a refuge for wildlife and indigenous flora and fauna and one of the first farms established locally, with a vibrant and unique European heritage.

We are seeking $30M to deliver the Briars Masterplan, which articulates the vision of Council and the community for the future of the Briars. The Masterplan demonstrates how the Briars can contribute to the continued success of the Mornington Peninsula as a premier tourist destination and how natural, cultural and heritage beauty will be protected, celebrated and enhanced:

  • Full Masterplan Design ($3M)
  • New playground
  • Walking trails
  • Upgraded and new car parking with new site entry
  • Upgraded visitors’ centre
  • Amphitheatre and Innovation centre
  • Glamping

The implementation of the Briars Master Plan has the potential to stimulate significant economic activity within the region. The project will provide more opportunities for people of all ages to connect with the site and for the site to contribute economically to the region. A key aim in developing the Plan was to keep what is already loved and bring in some new, carefully considered experiences that allow more people to enjoy the Briars. Key components of the Masterplan include:

The Gathering Space: A redeveloped visitors centre, education space and café adjacent to a children’s nature play garden, will bring people together and connect them to place and the natural environment. It is comfortable, safe and fun for families, with spectacular views across the wetlands and vineyard.

The Sanctuary: An expanded wildlife sanctuary to include an accommodation precinct offering a unique glamping experience, a close encounters precinct to connect visitors with local wildlife and expanded walking tracks to cater for people of all ages and abilities. A major focus of the sanctuary will be the reintroduction wildlife that were once common but are now extinct on the Peninsula, into a fox and cat free environment.

The Heritage Precinct: The Briars Homestead and gardens will be restored and preserved to their original condition to ensure future generations can connect to this remarkable historic asset. A village precinct, centred around the historic brick barn which will be expanded to preserve and celebrate the heritage of the site, transforming it into a family-friendly, farm-chic restaurant serving food made from local produce.

Green Dreaming: The Shire nursery will be redeveloped to include a play garden for children, a dedicated education area, bush food gardens and an expanded retail area, promoting the use of native and indigenous plants.

The business case (Urban Enterprises 2019) for the plan forecasts the development and operation of the Masterplan will “generate substantial benefits for the Mornington Peninsula economy through increases in economic output, job creation, wages and value-add to the economy”.

During the construction phase, the project is estimated to have an output of $32-$37M, employ between 80 to 90 people, pay between $6.5-$7.5M in wages, and provide a value add of between $12.5-$15M.

During the operational phase the project is estimated to have an output of $18-19M, employ 120 people, $6M wage expenditure and provide a value added of approximately $10M.

The business case also identifies significant qualitative benefits generated by the implementation of the Masterplan including:

  • Enhance the Mornington Peninsula’s status as a desirable visitor destination, particularly for visitors seeking high-quality nature-based experiences. This is likely to stimulate the visitor economy through increases in visitation (and visitor yield), resulting in flow-on effects to other tourism and hospitality businesses in the area
  • Providing local employment and training opportunities training, developing local skills
  • Improving community access to passive and unstructured recreation opportunities
  • Strengthening visitor dispersal across the Mornington Peninsula (from the busy coastline attractions).

The Briars Masterplan supports many Federal, Victorian and Local Government strategies:

  • National Trust of Australia (Victoria) Strategic Plan 2018-2022
  • Mornington Peninsula Shire Reconciliation Action Plan 2020
  • Mornington Peninsula Region Destination Management Plan
  • Mornington Peninsula Shire Economic Development Strategy
  • Mornington Peninsula Shire Disability Inclusion Plan 2018-2022
  • Our Health and Wellbeing: A Plan for the Mornington Peninsula 2017-21
  • Climate Change Community Engagement Strategy (MPS)
  • Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2037

The Briars Master Plan is intrinsically linked to each theme of the Council Plan 2021-2025

Theme 1: A healthy natural environment and well-planned townships:

Protection and enhancement of the natural environment is a key component of the Briars Masterplan, with components such as the Sanctuary and Green Dreaming Precincts focusing on creating a healthy natural environment within the Briars and across the Mornington Peninsula.

Theme 2: a robust, innovative, and diverse economy: Investment in the Briars Masterplan will have long lasting and wide-reaching positive economic impacts as demonstrated by the plans business case.

Theme 3: A flourishing, healthy and connected community:

The Briars Masterplan will create opportunities to reduce social isolation by helping people connect through volunteering, with significant positive mental health outcomes.