The protection of Hanging Rock will be a top priority no matter which party takes government next month.

The state government last week made a $3 million election promise to fast track environmental protections on Hanging Rock and its East Paddock.

The future preservation and management of the famous landmark will be guided by a 50 year strategic plan launched in September.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne pledged that the funding would be used to buy the East Paddock site and implement “high priority actions” that were outlined in the Hanging Rock Strategic Plan, including new environmental protections, recognising the area’s Aboriginal cultural significance and boosting recreation opportunities.

During a visit to the site last week, Macedon Ranges MP Mary-Anne Thomas said that the funding would ensure the famous landmark gets the care and attention it deserves.

Mr Wynne promised upgrades to picnic areas and bathrooms would be funded under a re-elected government.

“Alongside the Macedon Ranges, which we have now declared a Distinctive Area with legislative protection, Hanging Rock is a sacred part of our state, and it deserves to be protected, preserved and cared for,” Mr Wynne said.

He said that the improvement works will be undertaken in partnership with the Macedon Ranges council, indigenous owners and locals.

The Friends of Hanging Rock group expressed its support saying that plans for the area were “a great step in the right direction”.

“We’re of the view that a discussion regarding the ownership of the East Paddock is long overdue.

“We have long advocated for ‘One Rock’ and that the East Paddock should be formally incorporated into the Hanging Rock Reserve and ownership passed from council to the government, as was originally intended when the East Paddock was acquired.”

Earlier this year, opposition MP David Davis criticised the 50 year strategic plan document saying it did not rule out possible commercial developments at East Paddock.

He said that a Liberal government would rezone East Paddock to ensure it is protected from commercial development.

“The rock and its surrounds including East Paddock should not have intense inappropriate development,” Mr Davis said.