UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) was established in 1968. Since then, its flagship project has been the designation a worldwide network of multi-functional biosphere reserves (BRs). Australia has 15, and one of the more recent is the Mornington Peninsula and Western Port Biosphere Reserve (MPWPBR, 2002), located in the peri-urban region to the south of metropolitan Melbourne. It is subject to a range of pressures. The paper examines these and explores the lost opportunities represented by the limited stature of BR status in Victoria. A particular focus is the current State government's pro-growth policy which involves relaxing controls on outer suburban residential expansion and the encouragement of freeway construction. These have major implications for the MPWPBR.