| What’s happening in planning?
Welcome to the September issue of the Planning Bulletin; all of your planning news in two minutes. We hope you enjoy the read!
MAV Planning Improvement Conference: Operation Excellence
The fifth annual MAV Planning Improvement Conference, on 17 October, is just around the corner. This event will be a chance for councils to translate operational change into a lasting organisational culture of excellence.
Keynote speakers include:
- Janet Dore, CEO of the Transport Accident Commission (TAC)
- Dr Kathy Alexander, CEO of the City of Melbourne
- Christine Wyatt, Deputy Secretary Planning, DTPLI.
Make sure that your council doesn’t miss out on this important planning event. Registrations can be made online and a full program can also be downloaded.
Well, D-day for VicSmart arrived on 19 September. It is important to note that no transition arrangements are in place for the commencement of VicSmart. Current applications may be affected in terms of the assessment process and/or timelines.
You will also need to have your delegation from the CEO in place to ensure the timely sign-off of VicSmart applications. The delegation template can be found here.
We indicated in the business process workshops that we are keen to ensure CEOs are aware of the organisational challenges of introducing VicSmart. We have prepared a short video explaining VicSmart and its implications. This has been circulated to CEOs and planning directors. It might even be useful for staff and councillors. We will also be speaking directly to CEOs at the next MAV CEO Forum on 20 November.
Our secure Yammer network is also up and running. This is a good forum to ask questions and share ideas and information. Usually someone out there knows the answer. If you want to join the network, contact Michelle Croughan.
Sunsetting of the Building Regulations
A detailed submission to the sunsetting of the Building Regulations 2006 has been prepared by the MAV with the Victorian Municipal Building Surveyors Group (VMBSG).
A key message in the submission was that the Building Regulations are robust, and have functioned reasonably well since 2006. As with all regulations some policy issues require review such as residential standards, swimming pools and spas, record keeping, and the fees and scope of Penalty Infringement Notes. There is also a range of operational matters that require adjustment or clarification.
The MAV is participating in a technical working group over the coming months with the VMBSG. There will be further opportunity for input once the Regulatory Impact Statement is released in 2015.
Review of the Planning and Environment Regulations
We have prepared a submission to the review of the Planning and Environment Regulations 2005.
We advised that the regulations effectively support the operation of the Planning and Environment Act 1987. However, they could better assist in providing some structure and resolution to long running issues including what makes a complete application, identification of pathways, and discrete timeframes for planning permit applications.
We have requested to be involved in any working group established to develop new or amended regulations. There will be a further opportunity to provide input to the preparation of a Regulatory Impact Statement.
Exposure draft of the Aboriginal Heritage Amendment Bill
We have prepared a draft submission to the exposure draft which has been circulated to councils for comment.
The exposure draft introduces a number of new concepts such as a Preliminary Aboriginal Heritage Test, which will enable clarification on whether a Cultural Heritage Management Plan is required.
This should deal with the difficult issue of significant ground disturbance. A range of offences have been introduced, as well as an Activity Advisory Group which can be established in the absence of a Registered Aboriginal Party.
We are pleased that a number of the recommendations of our previous submissions have been addressed, and our comments are predominantly positive.
Several matters still need to be addressed in regulations, such as prescribed fees, but they have been provided for in the Bill. Submissions to the exposure draft are due by 2 October.
Tender for Built Form project
We have released for tender a project brief for Managing Built Form in Rural and Regional Victoria.
The project will highlight examples of residential development that resolve design issues, respond to the character of towns or settlements, analyse existing planning scheme and other tools, identify potential reform to help rural and regional councils to achieve good design outcomes, and respond to character issues.
If you are interested in participating in a steering committee for the project, contact Michelle Croughan.
Changes to the provisions relating to failure to determine appeals have now been introduced at VCAT.
An applicant is now entitled to an order that the responsible authority reimburse the applicant the whole of any fees paid by the applicant in the proceeding.
This requirement does not apply if the responsible authority satisfies the Tribunal that there was reasonable justification for the failure to grant a permit having regard to the nature and complexity of the permit application, the conduct of the applicant, and any other matter beyond the reasonable control of the responsible authority.
Unfortunately the legislation was introduced into parliament without consultation with councils.
Building Legislation Amendment Bill 2014
It is understood that the Building Legislation Amendment Bill is currently awaiting debate in parliament after consultation with stakeholders was ultimately undertaken.
The MAV, in partnership with the Victorian Municipal Building Surveyors Group (VMBSG), raised a number of concerns with the State Government and the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure when the Bill was introduced to parliament with no consultation.
It is unclear, but considered unlikely, that the Bill will be considered prior to the election.
Review of the noise SEPPs
The Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA), and the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) have commenced a review of the two State Environment Protection Policies for noise.
The first is Control of Noise from Industry, Commerce and Trade, and the second is Control of Music Noise from Public Premises. The Noise SEPPs review discussion paper has been prepared for comment.
If you have concerns about either of these SEPPs, or how they fit into the regulatory environment, submissions should be made by 15 October.
The MAV held a briefing earlier this month. A summary of the meeting notes provided by the EPA is available for those preparing submissions.
Other interesting bits and pieces...