The Red Tape Commissioner, Anna Cronin and the Deputy Secretary Planning at DELWP, Julian Lyngcoln recently led a discussion on the planning system in Victoria. With thought-provoking questions posed by a panel of representatives from the:

  • Property Council of Australia (Victoria)
  • Planning Institute of Australia (Victoria)
  • Municipal Association of Victoria
  • Urban Development Institute of Australia (Victoria).

A lively discussion was also held in the text chat function of MS Teams between many of the audience members.

The event was in response to the Red Tape Commissioner’s recent recommendations for improving the planning system in Victoria, all 27 of which will be implemented as part of the Victorian Government’s $111 million dollar planning reform agenda.

Webinar recording

Access the slides used by Anna and Julian:

The Questions and Answers asked in the chat function of MS teams on the day are summarised below.

Webinar Questions and Answers Summary

Input from Local Government and the broader community will still be an integral part of the new processes and pathways. The intention is to try and achieve more consistency in the way that the community is involved, particularly in terms of larger projects, and to engage once and well.

The new processes and pathways will still ensure consideration of quality-built form outcomes and assessment against the relevant planning scheme policies and requirements.

The Victoria Planning Provisions provide councils with a range of tools to ensure quality outcomes including variations to ResCode in the residential zone schedules, several overlays such as Design and Development and Neighbourhood Character Overlays and local planning policy to guide assessors on discretionary matters when deciding on planning permit applications for new development.

Maintaining integrity of the planning system is essential. That’s why we’re ensuring the community, councils and industry are involved in the planning reforms. Good strategic work and leadership from councils and DELWP will continue to be an important pillar of the planning system.

Yes, DELWP is preparing legislation to modernise the planning scheme amendment processes and will be publicly reporting timelines.

DELWP is aware of the significant amount of consultation and engagement occurring with councils and other key stakeholders resulting from a significant program of reforms. Council input is critical to the success of future reforms that benefit all users of the planning system.

DELWP is committed to making it easier for councils to plan and anticipate the changes and where possible will proactively advise on when consultation for key reforms will occur. In terms of additional capacity for regional and rural councils, our Regional Hub program is open for business.

Find out contact information and more about the Regional Hub.

Through the reform program, the government is proposing a new legislated assessment pathway for State Significant Development (SSD). The process is an evolution of the work that has been occurring for the past 18 months through the Building Victoria’s Recovery Taskforce (BVRT) and Development Facilitation Program (DFP). It moves away from the idea of the Minister intervening ;in projects, and rather having an established and very clear defined list of sectors and locations where the Minister will be the decision maker.

The State Significant Development pathway will maintain community participation in the planning decisions that affect them and include consultation with local government and where necessary seek advice from an expert advisory committee.

A shortage of skilled staff is an issue across the industry, and we are hearing that local government in particular is feeling the pinch of this. We’re doing two things to address this in the short term:

  • Reducing the administrative burden on councils by focusing their resources on the things that matter; to their local communities and which require the technical discretionary input from council officers
  • Building capacity through programs like Regional Planning Hubs, Better Planning Approvals and Digital Reform

PIA nationally is looking at a range of strategies to ensure the future pipeline of planners, also working closely with the accredited universities to make graduates 'practice-ready. DELWP will continue to work with PIA and MAV on these initiatives.

In October 2021, DELWP released a new assessment model for ResCode that seeks to clarify that when the standard has been met, the objective has been met.

While a review of the ResCode standards is not part of the project at this time, early feedback from submissions to the discussion paper indicated that there is a strong desire from stakeholders to review the ResCode standards, including considering applying internal amenity standards from clause 58 to other forms of residential development under clauses 54 and 55 such as townhouses and single dwellings.

DELWP will be consulting with communities on relevant initiatives as they roll out over four years. One example is the ResCode reforms, which are currently out for public consultation.

The Planning for Melbourne’s Green Wedges and Agricultural Land Discussion paper was released for public consultation between late November to 2020 to early February 2021. After a range of online workshops and community information sessions, 879 submissions were received from a range of stakeholders, including industry, farmers, community and environment groups and local government. A report summarising feedback received during consultation as well as a final list of action/reforms will be released shortly.

Please check Planning for Melbourne’s green wedges and agricultural land | Engage Victoria for further updates.

DELWP is currently developing a model deed of delegations to provide guidance to councils about standard levels of delegation on planning permit applications and other matters.

The model deed will specify best-practice delegations and include principles for councils to consider in developing their own deeds of delegation to achieve greater consistency of delegations across Victoria’s 79 councils.

Councils will continue to play the principal role in planning for their local communities. The proposed State Significant Development pathway reforms are about making sure that the 1% of state significant projects are considered in a consistent way.

The Victorian government’s Energy sector emissions reduction pledge sets out ambitious initiatives designed to achieve net-zero emissions and a climate resilient Victoria by 2050.

This includes measures that support a more sustainable built environment by investment in greening the energy grid through accelerating the contribution of renewable energy supply to buildings, and support for Solar Victoria’s programs, which are broadened to include a home heating and cooling upgrades program.

Improved energy performance for new homes is also supported through development of ‘7-Star’ building standards through updates to the National Construction Code and new Victorian minimum energy efficiency standards for rental homes. Planning measures are being reviewed to complement these changes. The primary means of meeting Victoria’s emissions reduction goals is focussed on implementation of the Government’s emissions reduction pledge program and staged reform of building energy performance standards to achieve the nationally agreed Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings.

Page last updated: 28/04/22