Open space in Yarra

Our city is home to great parks, reserves, urban spaces and waterways that people of all ages and abilities can enjoy.

Around 13.5% of our total area is open space – roughly 20 square kilometres. This includes areas of significant biodiversity and bushland.

With a growing population and increasing density, it's important that quality open space is within a safe and easy walk of residents and workers.

Managing open space 

The Yarra Open Space Strategy 2020 was adopted by council on Tuesday 1 September 2020. 

The strategy guides how we’ll manage Yarra's open space network for the next 15 years. It proposes 28 new parks across Yarra, and an increase in the current open space contribution rate (from 4.5% to 10.1%).

You can read the strategy and associated documents at Strategies, policies and plans.

Funding open space

We pay for parks, reserves and recreational facilities in many ways. This includes revenue from general rates, government grants and contributions by developers. We collect public open space contributions in an Open Space Reserve fund, kept in our financial accounts.

Developers help us pay for open space

The Yarra Planning Scheme currently requires all developers to contribute 4.5% of the value of the land they are developing to council. Alternatively, they may pay the equivalent amount in dollars to us for the purchase of land for open space or capital improvements to existing open space. 

This money can be used for: 

  • creating new open space and recreational facilities
  • upgrading existing open space and recreational facilities
  • renewing or improving existing open space and recreational facilities.

Deciding where funding is spent

Council adopted a Public Open Space Requirement Policy in June 2016 that guides how money in the Open Space Reserve is spent.

Open space projects that meet the criteria outlined in this policy are identified, prioritised and considered through our annual budget process. View the Public Open Space Requirement Policy.

How much money has been collected so far? 

According to council’s audited annual reports, the Open Space Reserve has collected $48.270 million in developer contributions from 2010 to 2020.

2010/11 2.210M
2011/12 4.387M
2012/13 4.124M
2013/14 4.028M
2014/15 5.437M
2015/16 5.506M
2016/17 3.870M
 2017/18  4.806M
 2018/19  6.344M
 2019/20  7.558M
TOTAL $48.270M

What projects have you funded?

View our full list of funded open space or recreation projects between 2010 and 2020.