Welcome to the March edition of the bulletin; all you need to know in two minutes. We hope you enjoy the read.
Gareth, Michelle, James, Kevin and Natasha.
What’s happening in planning?
MAV/MPA Partnership Agreement
Consistent with our submission to Plan Melbourne and our position developed with councils, the Metropolitan Planning Authority (MPA) and MAV has commenced discussions on the development of a Partnership Agreement.
The development of an agreement was identified to provide an overarching framework to guide the relationship between the MPA and councils. It also provides guidance on the rules and process on designated sites and areas where the MPA may become the Planning or Responsible Authority.
The MAV is currently seeking councils’ comments on a position paper summarising our initial views and the draft partnership agreement prior to entering into further negotiation with the MPA.
The document has been circulated to CEOs and Planning Directors. Feedback is requested by 18 April.
We also understand that Melbourne’s new subregional planning groups have met with the MPA to discuss key infrastructure priorities. The subregional planning groups include CEOs from all metropolitan councils.
For further information, contact Gareth Hately on 9667 5596.
Save the date - MAV Rural and Regional Planning Conference
Don’t miss out on the MAV Rural and Regional Planning Conference Future Proofing Regional Victoria – the journey of transformation on 26-27 June 2014.
The conference focuses on building capacity, increasing knowledge and delivering better planning practice in rural and regional Victoria. It has been run by the MAV for three years and builds on the previous Shaping Victoria conference delivered by DTPLI.
We have prepared a stellar program, including presentations from:
- Christine Wyatt, DTPLI deputy secretary
- Marcus Westbury, Renew Australia - future proofing regional Victoria – international examples from abroad
- Rob Adams AM, Director City Design, City of Melbourne on strategies for regeneration of rural and regional towns – practical lessons from Melbourne
- Gary White, Chief Planner at MacroPlan Dimasi (former Chief State Planner at QLD Government and President of PIA Queensland Division) on lining up your ducks – the successful pillars of regional plan implementation based on Queensland
- Peter Dolan, Director Operations Science, Assessment and Planning, EPA (SA) on wind farms, community ownership, noise monitoring and compliance in South Australia.
A series of focussed, concurrent sessions will also be held on topics including coal seam gas, renewable energy, transport planning, environmentally sustainable design and cutting edge council planning projects. Back by popular demand, is Kathy Mitchell, Chief Panel Member, PPV and a representative from VCAT to share the top 10 planning decisions that have shaped planning practice in the last 12 months.
The conference will be held at the Yarra Valley Lodge on the doorstep to the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges. Yarra Ranges Shire will lead a field trip of the municipality, focusing on how they manage the incorporation of tourism facilities in a sensitive rural environment.
More speakers will be announced soon. Due to venue capacity restrictions the conference has been capped to 150 people. Avoid disappointment and register now.
EOI on sought on councillor Building and Planning Training Program
We sought expressions of interest from consultants interested in assisting in the development and delivery of the MAV Planning and Building training program for councillors.
The purpose of the program is to help councillors understand the planning and building system in Victoria – the relevant legislation and the roles and responsibilities of council so they are better equipped to perform their role.
On appointment of a consultant and the development of the program material, a series of training programs will be held in metropolitan and rural Victoria.
We would like to thank, DTPLI, LGV, VBA and the peak professional groups who provided comment on our draft proposal.
CFA requests feedback on its standard planning permit conditions
We have circulated a copy of draft amended CFA standard planning permit conditions and an explanatory document to planning directors and managers for comment.
The document explains the purposes of the condition, why it is important and the revised standard planning permit condition.
The need for such a document was identified by a CFA and MAV commissioned Glossop Town Planning review of the CFA standard planning permit conditions.
The review was commissioned on the back of some concerns that they were difficult to understand, for both applicants and council staff. The review was informed by a small working group of councils and the CFA.
The final amended version of the document will be distributed to the sector.
Feedback is due by 4 April. For further information, please contact Gareth Hately on 9667 5596.
Sector conversation – Indicators of efficient and effective planning services
On 21 March we packed out our conference room for a world café session on indicators of an efficient and effective planning system.
Seven officers from six councils shared how they monitor and improve performance across statutory planning, customer satisfaction and validate the success of strategic planning.
On behalf of the MAV, we’d like to thank Glen Eira, Dandenong, Bendigo, Surf Coast, Banyule and Nillumbik councils for sharing how they monitor and improve performance. The lessons will also be incorporated in the MAV STEP process improvement program.
A short report has been circulated to planning directors and managers.
We have recently undertaken a survey of councils regarding planning delegation for planning scheme amendments, planning permits and other matters.
A total of 47 responses were received and the results have been collated in a Planning Delegation report.
The report identifies high levels of delegation in the planning permit process, as expected, as well as the triggers for matters to be sent to council for a decision. Much lower levels of delegation were shown in the planning scheme amendment process and for other matters.
A short report has been circulated to planning directors and managers.
In other news...
SPPF changes and Advisory Committee Consultation Session
The revised State Planning Policy Framework (SPPF) has been released for public comment. We have prepared a summary of key changes that has been circulated planning directors and managers.
A review of the SPPF commenced in early 2013. One of the key drivers of the review was the need to integrate the new Metropolitan Strategy Plan Melbourne and the Regional Growth Plans.
The Terms of Reference were expanded in October to include how Local Planning Policy Frameworks could be better aligned with the reformed SPPF.
The committee undertook a broad consultation on the SPPF in September seeking feedback about structure and potential improvements. The committee subsequently consulted with a limited range of stakeholders on a reformatted version of the SPPF. It is understood the committee also tested the format with three councils.
A 10-week consultation period (finishing 23 May) has commenced, which includes information sessions and the opportunity for written submissions on a reformatted SPPF.
The MAV will be making a submission to the Advisory Committee. To assist us we want sector feedback. You can do this via phone, email or by providing a copy of your submission.
For further information, contact Michelle Croughan on 9667 5541.
John Jackson and RMIT undergraduate students need your assistance
RMIT senior undergraduate students in the planning degree are undertaking a project on how different professional groups and administrative units collaborate within local government.
RMIT students would like to interview a mixture of metropolitan and regional councils in the week begin 14 April to discuss this topic.
Please contact John Jackson on 9925 3437.
Changes to VCAT Act in parliament
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Amendment Bill 2014 is currently being debated in the Legislative Council. The Bill contains some reforms of relevance to council. We understand that a consultation process was not undertaken.
The reforms allow the Tribunal to:
- Invite a responsible authority to reconsider its decision at any time in a review proceeding
- More actively manage the use and giving of expert evidence in proceedings
- Make an order in relation to fees (including application and hearing fees), separate from its power to award cost
- Make an order removing a person as a party to a proceeding if it considers that the person's interests are not affected by the proceeding or that the person is not a proper or necessary party to the proceeding
- Delegate certain functions of the Tribunal (such as making procedural orders or consent orders) to its registrars.
Where the tribunal might use the first point, the responsible authority may affirm the decision, vary the decision or set aside the decision and substitute a new decision. In relation to expert evidence, the Tribunal will be able to limit expert evidence to specific issues, limit the number to be called on a specific issue, provide for single joint experts and require that a conference be held between experts.
Performance reporting framework
The MAV has completed a submission to the Local Government (Planning and Reporting) Regulations 2014 Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS), which introduces a performance framework for local government.
The framework will introduce four indicators relevant to planning, several of which are reported through the Planning Permit Activity Report Process. The indicators are as follows:
- Time taken to decide planning permit applications (median number of days between receipt of a planning application and a decision on the application
- Service standard (planning applications decided within 60 days)
- Service costs (cost of statutory planning services)
- Decision making (Council planning decisions upheld at VCAT).
In our submission we encouraged that where existing information is already submitted to a department, the consolidated data should be delivered by that line agency to LGV. We also noted that services cost will vary substantially, based on application complexity. We also highlighted our concern with VCAT decisions being used as a mechanism to judge if a council made the right decision, given it assumes that the decision is always right.
Interesting tid bits