Development Victoria

Maximising biodiversity outcomes for an urban renewal site


As the Victorian Government’s development arm, Development Victoria revitalise iconic public buildings, create important cultural and recreational facilities and recycle public land, for all Victorians.

Development Victoria
April 2023
600 ha
Size covered
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Development Victoria planned to undertake urban renewal of a large undeveloped property in East Werribee. The aim of the site was to regenerate green space from old farming land with no remnant habitat and create connectivity with green corridors to support local biodiversity. 

The sustainability team wanted to maximise biodiversity outcomes for this site using a data-driven approach.

  • Understand existing biodiversity on and around the site (flora and fauna)
  • Understand historical biodiversity in the region (what was there before development)
  • Assess biodiversity status and connectivity of neighbouring key biodiversity areas
  • Recommend actions to support biodiversity, including optimise the planting activity with landscape architects to focus on flora that support threatened species in the area (fauna and flora)
  • Develop a biodiversity index for the site, to track impact of recommended actions

Sam Smith
Sustainability Manager


  • The Xylo Systems platform produced a project which assessed baseline biodiversity for the site and 6km2 surrounding the site (to understand habitat connectivity). The assessment identified 604 species in the region, from a total of 4378 species observations. 
  • Produced a baseline regional biodiversity index (0.79), which will serve as an indicator for biodiversity improvement monitoring. 
  • Saved over $10,000 on external costs and over 8 months of staff time aggregating datasets
  • Identified 8 key endangered species to focus biodiversity actions, including platypus and golden sun moth
  • Identified 7 locally extinct (post-colonial) vegetation species to include in revegetation plan
  • Identified 7 key threats to focus regeneration actions
  • Identified key dependencies (food and habitat) for flagship species to inform management actions.
  • Report with explicit insights including recommendations for plant species to purchase based on each site to support flagship species and maximise biodiversity outcomes.
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The project identified the need for ongoing monitoring activities, including the health and canopy cover of planted vegetation. Future iterations of the platform will include satellite imagery to monitor this outcome overtime. Future iterations will also include ecosystem connectivity index, as this site was situated alongside an ecologically significant habitat, the Werribee Gorge. 

The project also identified the need to climate proof urban renewal sites, including the identification of climate resistance species for revegetation. 

Biodiversity index
Species detected