In this issue:                                                                     March, 2013

Metropolitan Planning
Development Contributions Review
STEP Planning
Planning fees
Rural Land Use Planning forum
MAV wind farm working group reconvened
Zone Ministerial Advisory Committee meeting
Legislative changes
VicSmart update
Localised Planning Statements for key Victorian areas
Governments commit to Warragul Railway Station Precinct project
UrbanGrowth NSW's functions and structure outlined
Yarra City Council endorses bike lane plan for Collingwood
Alliance calls for Australian Government investment in growth areas
Infrastructure requirements for regional centres
NSW introduces 2 km buffer for coal seam gas exploration
Interesting tid bits
Events

Hi all,

Thank you for your feedback and assistance on our draft metropolitan strategy discussion paper and development contribution submissions. Your comments will be useful to inform the final product.

If you’re interested, I’d encourage you to read the Planning and Environment Amendment (Growth Areas Authority and Miscellaneous) Bill. The Bill sets out changes to the function of the Growth Areas Authority and powers of the Minister in relation to applications.

In the last month we've had 220 planners and councillors through the doors to help inform our submissions and hear about rural and regional planning matters - thank you for your engagement.

We also received 32 nominations for the planning committee. Committee members will be contacted shortly regarding our first meeting.

Gareth and Michelle


What have we been doing?

Metropolitan Planning

We have been busily preparing a draft submission to the Melbourne – Let’s Talk About the Future discussion paper released by the Ministerial Advisory Committee. As a lead-up to the draft Metropolitan Planning Strategy, the discussion paper explores some key issues and ideas. As a way of responding to the discussion paper and the future draft Strategy, we convened a Metropolitan Strategy Reference Group (with representatives from metropolitan and interface councils) and held a forum on 15 February. We have taken a strong stance in the submission that the framework surrounding the Metropolitan Strategy must be right or there is little point in having a new strategy. We have sought to provide some high level structural advice to the Advisory Committee. We are keen to hear your feedback on the draft submission before its finalisation and submission to the Committee on 28 March.

To provide input contact Gareth Hately.

Development Contributions Review

The first report of the Standard Development Contributions Advisory Committee has been released for comment. This report details a proposed new framework for the operation of development contributions. No definitive recommendations have been made and a further report confirming recommendations and detailing levy amounts is due to be submitted to the Minister in May. To inform our submission, the MAV has convened a working group of councils and run a local government briefing with 65 attendees. Broad support for the report has been expressed although we are keen to hear your feedback on the draft MAV submission. The Advisory Committee has advised that they will be accepting late submissions and that no specific approval is required. We will be making our submission to the Committee in the week starting 17 March.

STEP Planning

Our seven new STEP members are in the process of undertaking the ‘self-assessment module’ of the program that examines the overall health of planning services. This will be followed by the ‘audit module’ in April to explore detailed process issues and improvement ideas. There will be two streams: the statutory (or permit) stream, and the strategic (amendment) stream.

For existing members, there will be a progress meeting in early April to follow up from the October audit.

For those interested in participating in the statutory or strategic streams please contact Michelle Croughan.

Planning fees

We have recently been notified by the Department of Planning and Community Development that they intend to make further interim regulations to carry over existing fees without indexation, given the Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) is yet to be released. We are disappointed and are of the strong view that planning and subdivision fees have failed to keep pace with inflation; have lost value in real terms; and are not adequately recovering costs. We have been left with a situation of either no fees or extension of existing fees - both of which are undesirable options. We intend to write to the Minister seeking commitment to the resolution of planning fees and will discuss the matter directly with the Minister in our next meeting.

Rural Land Use Planning forum

The Rural Land Use Planning forum was held on 15 March. The forum discussed tourism trends in rural and regional Victoria, development contributions, regional growth plans, and rural and regional retail planning policies. The forum also provided an opportunity to exchange lessons learnt on residential strategies, permit applications on major energy facilities, structure plans, rural strategies and much more. Forum presentations will be available on the MAV website shortly.

MAV wind farm working group reconvened

We have invited CEOs and mayors of rural and regional councils to a meeting on 8 April to discuss and develop a wind farm action plan. Given the surge in wind farms issues, there is a need for the MAV and councils to work collaboratively to prioritise and progress matters such as monitoring and compliance, noise standards and damage to local roads. For further information contact Gareth Hately.


What can we tell you?

Zone Ministerial Advisory Committee meeting

The Stage 1 report of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Reformed Zones has been released detailing responses to the Residential Zones. We have welcomed the Government’s release of the proposed new residential zones, as councils have sought a greater ability to tailor planning controls to give effect to local planning policy and reduce the backyard battles about overdevelopment for many years. The Minister has incorporated many of the suggested changes from the Ministerial Advisory Committee, councils and the MAV into the revised residential zones.

The new residential zones will be introduced over 12 months from July 2013. We are pleased the Minister has given in-principle support to our solution of a tailored three-tier implementation process to recognise the value of councils’ existing strategic planning work.

We will now be working with our members and the Government over the coming months to test and finalise the new zone provisions and to facilitate their timely implementation.

Legislative changes

The Planning and Environment Amendment (General) Bill 2012 has now  been passed, which makes a number of amendments to the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and associated legislation.

The changes include:

  • The removal of Development Assessment Committees and inclusion of Planning Application Committees (PACs) which may be set up to work with a council or group of councils on complex planning matters. Councils will request the Minister to establish a PAC.
  • Two new definitions of a referral authority: a determining referral authority (current role) and a recommending referral authority. A recommending referral authority has no ‘power of veto’ but can comment on an application and has the right to apply to VCAT for a review of the decision.
  • Setting out of referral authority duties, including a public register and requirements to specify why a referral is being made and to provide the applicant with a copy of the referral response
  • Referral Authorities will now be responsible for compensation where their action or omission leads to the cancellation or amendment of a permit
  • Enabling a Responsible Authority to amend a permit granted by VCAT, unless otherwise specified, and greater ability to extend a permit without recourse to VCAT
  • Changes to the planning scheme amendment process to require a response to an authorisation request within 10 business days, and if not, to be able to proceed with preparation of the amendment
  • A new section 20(A) to deal with the 30 per cent of amendments that are technical corrections or consequential changes. Regulations will set out the criteria.
  • A new process to end or amend section 173 agreements, with agreement of the Responsible Authority, and the removal of the need for the Minister to be involved, and to receive a copy of all agreements
  • Introducing scope for VCAT to limit its review of a planning matter to the issues in dispute, with the agreement of the parties.

The Planning and Environment Amendment (Growth Areas Authority and Miscellaneous) Bill 2013 has just been introduced into Parliament. The Bill will enable growth areas to be declared anywhere in Victoria, expand the functions of the Growth Areas Authority and make changes to the directors liability provisions at section 128 of Act. The Bill also makes changes to section 76D and 97 of the Act which sets out the Power of Minister in relation to applications.

VicSmart update

The VicSmart legislation has also been approved by Parliament and will come into operation on 20 May. We understand from DPCD that it is unlikely that the new VicSmart categories will be introduced into the Victoria Planning Provisions and all planning schemes until September. It seems likely that councils will be given an opportunity to comment on the new provisions. We are working with the Department to develop a workshop(s) to consider the operational implementation of the new provisions within councils and to assist with transition.

Localised Planning Statements for key Victorian areas

The Minister for Planning has provided an update about new Localised Planning Statements for the Yarra Valley and Macedon Ranges, and the Mornington and Bellarine Peninsulas. The Statements are expected to be finalised by December this year.


In the news...

Governments commit to Warragul Railway Station Precinct project

Federal and State Government funding for a $26.05 million Warragul Railway Station Precinct plan has been announced which will provide a significant upgrade to the station precinct and encourage private sector investment in the Warragul CBD.

UrbanGrowth NSW's functions and structure outlined

The New South Wales Government has outlined the functions and structure of the State's new urban development delivery vehicle, UrbanGrowth NSW, which was formed through the integration of Landcom and the former Sydney Metropolitan Development Authority in January.

Yarra City Council endorses bike lane plan for Collingwood

Wellington Street in Collingwood will become the first road in Yarra to have separated 'Copenhagen-style' bicycle lanes, with work commencing on preparing detailed design plans. Mayor Jackie Fristacky welcomed the decision as an example of the council's commitment to encouraging more people to ride bicycles and to supporting world class infrastructure for cyclists, adding that the City of Yarra has the highest proportion of people who cycle to work in Australia.

Alliance calls for Australian Government investment in growth areas

The National Growth Areas Alliance (NGAA), a group of 25 councils representing some of Australia's fastest-growing areas, has called on the Australian Government to invest in a number of measures to improve urban growth management, improve access to jobs and provide community infrastructure. In its submission to the 2013-14 Federal Budget, the NGAA said research indicates that an additional one million jobs will be needed in growth area areas by 2026.

Infrastructure requirements for regional centres

Regional Cities Victoria has released a report that provides an assessment of future infrastructure requirements for Victoria’s 10 largest regional centres over the period 2011 to 2031. The report states, to meet expected demand an additional $3.4 to $4.4 billion will be required to provide items such as public transport, hospitals and higher education facilities.

NSW introduces 2 km buffer for coal seam gas exploration

In NSW, a two kilometre buffer between coal seam gas exploration areas and residential areas will be introduced in a bid to address community concerns. The NSW Government will release further information over the next two weeks. The buffer appears to only apply to coal seam gas proposals, rather than all mining proposals within a two kilometre radius of residential areas.

Interesting tid bits

  • Rethinking infrastructure
    Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, describes innovations to develop infrastructure projects holistically and explores the challenges posed by Asia’s urbanisation boom.
  • Washington DC releases ‘Sustainable DC’
    As highlighted in the latest Plantastic and Designeriffic Blog, Washington DC has recently released their Sustainable DC plan.
  • Places Victoria CEO
    The Growth Areas Authority CEO has been appointed as interim CEO of Places Victoria.
Upcoming events...

25 - 27 March

National PIA Conference, Canberra

12 - 15 May

National Mainstreet Australia Conference, Melbourne

16 - 17 May

AHURI National Urban Policy Conference, Sydney

 

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