In this issue:                                                                       January, 2013

MAV Metropolitan Planning forum – 15 February 2013
Wind farm working group to be reconvened
Expressions of Interest for the MAV Planning Committee
Strategic planning for bushfire and preparing planning scheme amendments
STEP Planning
Fences Act – proposed reforms
VCAT fee changes
Mid-term economic strategy released
VCAT Amendments to Practice Note
Infrastructure funding to improve community safety
Dr Karen Lee speaks on spatial design, health and wellbeing
Suncorp releases risky business report
Infrastructure productivity: How to save $1 trillion a year
Singapore surveys residents to inform long-term land use strategies
Do you want to help shape the next generation of planners?
Interesting tid bits

Dear readers,

What a start to the year! I don’t think we’ll get much reprieve over the next couple months. Advisory Committee reports on the developer contributions framework and the residential zones are now complete. For those scrambling to pull together submissions on the discussion paper, Melbourne, let’s talk about the future, the deadline has been extended to 28 March. For rural, regional and interface councils, the next MAV Rural Land Use Planning forum will be held on 15 March. Further details with be distributed to shortly.

We hope you enjoy the read.

Gareth and Michelle

What’s happening in planning?

Metropolitan Planning forum – 15 February 2013

The MAV Metropolitan Strategy Reference Group, made up of CEOs, planning directors, mayors and councillors, will first meet on 15 February.
The aim of the forum is to develop a local government vision for metropolitan Melbourne and discuss how the metropolitan strategy can be implemented, focusing particularly on funding, governance, community engagement and development incentives.

The forum will include a presentation from Professor Roz Hansen, Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on key themes of the discussion paper.

For further information contact Gareth Hately.

Wind farm working group to be reconvened

The wind farm working group will be reconvened in March. Council CEOs will be invited to nominate a councillor and senior planning officer to participate. The working group will provide an avenue to exchange lessons learnt on wind farm proposals, and a forum to discuss key issues.

For further information contact Gareth Hately.

Expressions of Interest for the MAV Planning Committee

Councillors and senior planning officers are encouraged to lodge an expression of interest to participate in the MAV Planning Committee. The committee is one of several that reports to the MAV Board and is used as a mechanism for the MAV to engage with the sector, and inform and develop our policy submissions and projects. The committee is appointed for a two-year period and meets on a quarterly basis.

Please submit an expression of interest form to Jaclyn Felton by Friday 25 January.

Strategic planning for bushfire and preparing planning scheme amendments

The Department of Planning and Community Development and the Country Fire Authority are hosting regional seminars on strategic planning for bushfire and preparing planning scheme amendments. The seminars are designed for strategic planners and those preparing planning scheme amendments in local government.

Select a session below and register your attendance.

Tuesday 26 February - Hume - Wangaratta
DPCD Regional Office
Wangaratta Government Centre
Council Chambers
1st Floor, 62 Ovens Street

Tuesday 5 March  - Barwon South West - Camperdown
Corangamite Shire Council
Killara Centre 210-212
Manifold Street

Wednesday 6 March- Grampians - Ballarat
DPCD Regional Office
RM 4, 111 Armstrong
Street North, Ballarat

Thursday 7 March- Loddon Mallee - Bendigo
Venue TBC

Tuesday 19 March - Gippsland - Traralgon
DPCD Regional Office
RM1, 71 Hotham St

STEP Planning

The STEP planning process improvement program is commencing two separate streams early in 2013. The first is the planning permit stream, where significant success has already been demonstrated by participating councils. The second stream is a planning scheme amendment stream following considerable interest from councils seeking to address the new scheme timeframes. If you are interested in participating in either of these streams please contact Michelle Croughan.

Save the date for the Planning Improvement Forum which will be held on Thursday 4 June. The theme of the event is ‘What do the customers really want’. The event will be opened up nationally. If councils have done any work in this area or are interested in hosting the event please contact Michelle Croughan.

Fences Act - proposed reforms

The Victorian Government is considering reforms to the Fences Act 1968 and has prepared draft proposals for consideration. The draft proposals aim to overcome the current lack of guidance on fencing obligations and how to resolve disagreements about fencing works. The intent is to provide more clarity around contributions to fencing works, maintenance obligations, the location and placement of fences and the resolution of disputes about the common boundary. The proposals are also intended to simplify fencing related procedures and minimise costs in an area where legal costs are often disproportionately high relative to the amount in dispute.

A discussion paper notes that councils are not currently liable to contribute towards the repair and maintenance of boundary fences for parks they own and manage, as they are not considered ‘occupiers’ of the land. The proposed shift in liability from occupiers to owners will not affect the liabilities of local government as it is intended to provide that where land is managed by a council for a public park, the council is not the owner for the purposes of the Fences Act.

Should you have any issues or concerns about the draft proposals contact Alison Lyon by Friday 8 February.

VCAT fee changes

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) is reviewing its fee structures. A Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) is out for comment. The document outlines staged increases over three years.

Hearings and Enforcement Orders under the Planning and Environment List are proposed to increase from $322 and $38 respectively to $1 007.40 in 2015. We note that, like VCAT, councils have similarly been absorbing increasing costs to fund the planning systems and still await a review of planning fees commenced in 2008. We hope that 2013 will be the year that planning fees are reviewed to better reflect costs. Submissions to the VCAT RIS are due on 15 February.  

Should you have any issues or concerns about the changes to the Planning and Environment List please contact Gareth Hately.

Mid-term economic strategy released

The Victorian Government released a mid-term economic strategy, Securing Victoria’s Economy – Planning, Building, Delivering, outlining their ‘action agenda’ (what they have done) and ‘action plan’ (what they will do).

While much of the focus is on maintaining a AAA credit rating, surplus, jobs and the economy, a significant section relates to planning reform, development, infrastructure and transport. It is pleasing to note that in this strategy the Government has offered to work with councils to implement the new zones.

VCAT amendments to Practice Note

VCAT has amended Practice Note PNPE2 - Information from Decision Makers, and details are available on the VCAT website. The amendments to Practice Note PNPE2 integrate with amendments to Practice Note PNPE8 - Major Cases List to reduce the administrative burden for responsible authorities for applications also listed on the major cases list.

Infrastructure funding to improve community safety

There are still a few weeks left for councils to apply for up to $250 000 in infrastructure funding.

Applications close for the Victorian Government’s Public Safety Infrastructure Fund grants at 5 pm on 22 February.

The grants provide funding for infrastructure projects that improve community safety, security and confidence in public places. This can include lighting systems, other physical security or safety measures, streetscape and amenity improvements, and public place CCTV systems.

Applications must be submitted online and late applications will not be accepted.

Dr Karen Lee speaks on spatial design, health and wellbeing

Spatial design can significantly improve health and wellbeing, and prevent chronic disease.

Dr Karen Lee currently leads the New York City Health Department’s implementation of its Active Design Guidelines through a partnership of NYC agencies. Her work also provides support to the Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) tax and zoning incentive initiative to promote supermarket development in under-served neighbourhoods in NYC.

Dr Lee will present at a number of seminars in Melbourne on 4 and 5 February. Although the MAV’s event is fully booked, details for alternative events are available online.

In other news...

Suncorp releases risky business report

Suncorp, the insurance group, released a report stating all levels of government should step up efforts to limit losses from natural risks. The report states that regardless of how robust land use planning laws are, homes will always be exposed to some level of natural hazard risk. The report states that land use planning laws should be consistent across jurisdictions.

Infrastructure productivity: How to save $1 trillion a year - McKinsey Global Institute report released

A key component of the discussion paper, Melbourne, let’s talk about the future is how we can fund city building infrastructure. McKinsey Global Institute report highlights $57 trillion in infrastructure investment will be required between now and 2030 to keep up with projected global GDP growth. To deliver savings of $1 trillion annually, the report provides a road map for improving infrastructure productivity, which includes making better choices about projects ($200 billion in saving); streamlining delivery of projects through investing heavily in the early stages of project planning and design ($400 billion in saving); and making the most of existing infrastructure ($400 billion in saving). The report emphasises the need for government to make more aggressive use of tools and charges to allow them to manage demand and outlines alternative infrastructure governance systems to capture potential savings.

Singapore surveys residents to inform long-term land use strategies

The Singapore Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) conducts a Lifestyle Survey of its residents every three years to measure satisfaction levels with the living, working and leisure environment. The URA uses this feedback to inform strategic plans, gauge whether land use planning is supporting people’s aspirations, and measure progress over time. View the survey results and progress indicators.

Do you want to help shape the next generation of planners?

PIA Victoria, WPN and the Victorian Young Planners are running a free mentoring program in 2013, pairing inspired and experienced planners with students, graduates and new planners keen to develop their skills and broaden their outlook. Exchanges between mentors and mentees can cover a broad range of topics, from workplace issues to general news and current affairs in planning.

To launch the 2013 program, PIA, WPN and VYP are putting a call-out to all prospective mentors. Any planner who has an interest in helping develop the careers of enthusiastic young professionals, as well as building up their own leadership and training skills, is encouraged to get involved in this valuable program. Please register your interest via this quick online form.

Interesting tid bits

  • Development and solar panels Red Dot decision Chen v Melbourne CC & Ors (includes Summary) (Red Dot) [2012] VCAT 1909: Overshadowing impact of proposed development on neighbouring rooftop solar panels.
  • Regional Development Australia – call for nominations
    Regional Development Australia (RDA) is a national network of 55 committees made up of local leaders who work with all levels of government, business and community groups to support the development of their regions.
  • NSW Planning Reform Fund
    NSW invites councils and authorities to apply for Planning Reform Fund. The MAV called for a similar fund to be established in our submission to the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Planning Reform.
  • ICOMOS appoints local government representative
    Lisa Gervasoni, Strategic Planning Coordinator, Moorabool Shire was recently appointed to the Australia ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites). ICOMOS is a not-for-profit organisation of cultural heritage professionals that promotes expertise in the conservation of cultural heritage. Well done Lisa.
  • Forbes provides 8 tips for dealing with lazy co-workers.
  • REIV has released the top 10 selling words used in house sales.
  • The Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey has been released.
Upcoming MAV events...

15 February

Metro planning forum

15 March

Rural planning forum

22 - 23 May

Future of local government conference


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