| What’s happening in planning?
The answer is plenty. We hope you enjoy the latest edition of the planning bulletin; all of your planning news in three minutes or less.
Gareth, Michelle, Kevin and Natasha.
MAV VPP survey and report complete
In the context of the State Government’s pre-election commitment to review the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP), we sought the early input of Victorian councils on the operation of the system. A total of 67 councils have responded. A report summarising the input has been prepared and submitted to the Department for their consideration.
Based on the results, it is clear that the VPP provides a solid framework for planning schemes. However, councils have identified the following areas as needing particular attention:
- Implementing the recommendations of previous reviews such as: advertising signage, heritage, State Planning Policy Framework, helipads, greyhounds
- Comprehensively examining the overlays to define purpose, reduce overlap, improve clarity and introduce consistency of exemptions and vegetation controls
- Reconsidering the necessity of many of the particular provisions
- Reviewing the residential provisions and their connection to the residential zones
- Reviewing definitions
- Making operational improvements to incorporated documents.
Given councils operate in the system on a daily basis we hope the results provide a useful and practical starting point to inform future reform initiatives.
DELWP Infrastructure Contribution Reference Group
The MAV and five councils are representing the sector on the DELWP Infrastructure Contribution Implementation Reference Group. The group is tasked with considering and providing feedback on the implementation of the new infrastructure contribution system.
Two meetings have been held to discuss development setting criteria, criteria for applying the supplementary levy, indexation methods, the MPA’s Public Land Equalisation Method and allowable items.
To assist us in providing an overarching local government position, we have surveyed councils and are seeking feedback from planning directors on the items discussed in the reference group on a regular basis via email. Summaries of MAV feedback of meetings one and two are now available.
To contribute towards the MAV feedback on the development and implementation of the ICP framework, please do not hesitate to contact Michelle Croughan.
Infrastructure Bill passes
The Planning and Environment Amendment (Infrastructure Contributions) Bill has been passed by both houses of the Victorian Parliament with amendments from the Legislative Council agreed to by the Legislative Assembly on 20 August.
Amendments made by the Legislative Council can be viewed online. They include additional reporting requirements for the Minister, collection agencies, and development agencies.
Unfortunately, the community infrastructure levy collected under section 46 L of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 was not adjusted to account for indexation.
Thanks for your feedback on the Review of Heritage Act
We recently provided a submission to the review of the Heritage Act. We believe it provides a strong and robust framework for the protection of heritage of State significance.
A copy of the submission is now available. Thanks for your feedback.
Government to establish Animal Industries Advisory Committee
Minister Pulford and Minister Wynne announced the establishment of an advisory committee to examine how the planning system can better support Victorian Farmers and agriculture.
Recent VCAT and council decisions have highlighted the pace of change in the agribusiness and the difficult role decision makers have in balancing the planning merits of the application against community concern for the environment and their amenity.
We look forward to participating in the Animal Industries Advisory Committee review and seeing further detail of the Agribusiness Development Facilitation model.
EPA Inquiry Discussion Paper
The Independent Inquiry into the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has kicked off providing councils with an opportunity to exchange thoughts on questions about the key trends and emerging challenges facing the EPA, and the implications for its role in the future. Submissions to the inquiry are due by 31 October.
The role of the EPA in relation to wind farms was mentioned in the final report released by the Select Committee on Wind Turbines. The Committee in its final report is supportive of Moyne Shire and the MAV recommendation for wind farm noise monitoring and compliance requirements to be transferred to State based Environmental Protection Authorities similar to New South Wales.
Please see recommendation 8 and 9 in the Select Committee Report for further information.
VCAT feedback on initiating orders and application forms
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal is inviting people who have used the new initiating orders and application forms in the Planning and Environment List to attend a feedback forum on 10 September from 5pm-6pm. Further details can be found online.
Please register your attendance via email by 4 September. If you cannot attend the forum but would like to provide feedback, please send your comments via email.
About the new initiating orders and application forms:
On 2 February, VCAT introduced new initiating orders for all matters in the Planning and Environment List. The orders specify the dates for hearings and any compulsory conferences. They also specify what each party or agency needs to do and by what date.
New application forms supporting the orders were introduced in January. They require applicants to provide more information with their application than was previously the case. This information is required to enable VCAT to plan the entire course of the proceeding, including the hearing date and a possible date for alternative dispute resolution.
VAGO report on unconventional gas
The Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) has released its report into Managing the Risks and Impacts of Unconventional Gas. The audit examined whether Victoria is well placed to effectively respond to the potential environmental and community risks and impacts of onshore unconventional gas activities in the event that these proceed in this state.
VAGO has determined that Victoria is not as well placed as it could be to respond to the risks and impacts that could arise if the moratorium on exploration is lifted. It has found that the current regulatory system will not be able to effectively manage unconventional gas risks.
The report notes the need for natural resources to be managed sustainably and for competing interests to be assessed equitably. The report will be considered by the Legislative Council’s Environment and Planning Committee’s inquiry into unconventional gas in Victoria.
Interesting tid bits