In this issue:                                                                     July, 2014

Review of the Building Regulations
Review of the Planning and Environment Regulations
MAV VicSmart business practice workshops
Planning fees
Building Legislation Amendment Bill 2014
Victorian Floodplain Management Strategy Planning
Development Contribution Reform Implementation Reference Group
MAV Planning Improvement Conference 2014: Operation Excellence
Call to Parties companion document – land use planning
Bushfire planning provision changes
Bushfire Planning Assistance Fund
CFA Standard Planning Permit Conditions work
Live music action agenda
Fishermans Bend: Strategic Framework Plan released
Interesting tid bits

Hi all

Welcome to the latest edition of the Land Use Planning e-bulletin; all your planning news in two minutes. We hope you enjoy the read.

What’s happening in planning?
Review of the Building Regulations

Many thanks for your feedback about the joint submission we prepared with the Victorian Municipal Building Surveyors Group (VMBSG) on the sun setting of the Building Regulations 2006.

The submission highlighted a number of policy matters that require broader consideration such as the residential standards, swimming pools and spas, the keeping of records, documents, fees and infringements. A number of detailed operational matters were also raised such as fire performance, protection works, exemptions, temporary structures and retaining walls.

The new regulations will be prepared and further consultation undertaken as part of a Regulatory Impact Statement to be released in June 2015.

Review of the Planning and Environment Regulations

We are preparing a submission to the review of the Planning and Environment Regulations 2005. To inform our submission we have developed a short survey so we understand what the critical issues are. The survey has been distributed to planning directors.

The aim of the review is to replace the existing regulations, which sunset in May 2015. The regulations primarily include timeframes for planning processes, information requirements, the giving of notice and standard forms. Submissions are due by 12 September.

Initial feedback suggests that there will be some concern about particular timeframes and how the new short permit process, VicSmart, is integrated.

The submission will be circulated for comment prior to lodgement. Further opportunity will also be available to comment when the new regulations are prepared and further consultation undertaken.

The regulations do not include fees, which are included separately in the Planning and Environment (Fees) Regulations, or matters relating to subdivision contained in the Subdivision Regulations.

MAV VicSmart business practice workshops

We had over 400 people attend our VicSmart business practice workshops across Victoria. The 10 workshops were held immediately after the Department of Transport Planning and Local Infrastructure (DTPLI) information sessions.

A report summarising the outcomes of the workshops will be distributed shortly. The workshops have given councils a taste of what the MAV Step Planning Program offers, and has identified that councils believe anywhere between five and 30 per cent of permit applications will be VicSmart, depending on the municipality.

Officers have been encouraged to continue the conversation on the MAV Municipal Planners Yammer page. All registrants should have received an invitation to the page. If you would like to participate please contact Michelle Croughan. The most recent posts have included a copy of the business process workshop presentation and a link to the updated delegation instrument DTPLI has modified in response to council comments.

To make sure that CEOs and mayors are aware of what VicSmart means to them, we are investigating incorporating content into the MAV CEOs and councillor forums. We’d like to thank all that have attended the sessions and the DTPLI for funding the sessions.

Planning fees

The MAV was recently advised that further interim regulations are proposed to carry over existing planning and subdivision fees again without indexation.

Planning fees have been under review since 2008. Options have been prepared, councils consulted and a draft Regulatory Impact Statement prepared and reviewed. Yet it seems the time, effort and data provided by councils have failed to progress the State's review beyond this point.

To deliver a streamlined and efficient planning system and secure Victoria’s competitive edge over other jurisdictions, the MAV believes that the fees must be indexed and that a review be completed to deliver a high degree of cost recovery this financial year.

We have written to the Minister and Premier raising this concern.

Building Legislation Amendment Bill 2014

The MAV, in partnership with the Victorian Municipal Building Surveyors Group (VMBSG) has raised concerns with the government and DTPLI in relation to the Building Legislation Amendment Bill 2014.

The Bill was introduced into the legislative assembly on 7 May 2014. The resumption of the second reading was to occur in late May. We understand this has been postponed to August.

While the Bill includes many positives, several unintended consequences have been identified that create a lack of clarity around the roles and responsibilities of the municipal building surveyor and private building surveyors.

To fully understand these concerns, the MAV and the VMBSG held a meeting with municipal building surveyors. Legal advice was also obtained by the MAV and the VMBSG.

In partnership with the VMBSG, the paper has been developed outlining solutions and provided to the government and DTPLI. A copy of this paper has been distributed to CEOs.

Victorian Floodplain Management Strategy Planning

As part of the MAV's broader submission to the Victorian Floodplain Management Strategy, we prepared a response to the planning and building section of the strategy.

A copy of the MAV submission was circulated to CEOs and planning directors. Thanks for your feedback. For a copy of this submission, please contact Emma Lake.

Development Contribution Reform Implementation Reference Group

We have been requested to nominate an experienced practitioner to participate as a member of the DTPLI Development Contribution Reform – Implementation Reference Group at the request of the Minister for Planning. The group will be chaired by Christine Wyatt, Deputy Secretary, and contain members with professional experience in development contributions, administration and local government.

The objective of the group is to:

  • Support the implementation of the Development Contribution Reform
  • Provide expertise and advice in relevant subject areas
  • Test the implementation tools and provide advice on their application and improvement
  • Advise on the supporting mechanism required for successful implementation.

Please note the purpose of this group is not to re-evaluate the standard levies, but to provide advice to support the implementation of Development Contribution Reform.

An EOI process was run by the MAV. We have been inundated by high quality nominees, which will be notified shortly of the outcome.

MAV Planning Improvement Conference 2014: Operation Excellence

The fifth annual MAV Planning Improvement Conference will be held on 17 October. This event will be hosted in Melbourne, and will be a chance for councils to review how to translate operational changes into a lasting organisational culture of excellence.

The conference will focus on many aspects of performance improvement in planning, including the important shift towards customer focus, following the journey of process improvement, and reflecting whether your council has a whole-of-council approach towards effective and efficient planning outcomes.

We will have many inspirational speakers, and case studies from councils who are innovative in this important space.

Speakers will be announced in the coming weeks. Following the success of the 2013 event, we will be moving to a larger venue to accommodate a big crowd of local government planners from across Australia, senior decision makers, CEOs, and councillors.

Please set 17 October aside for this important event, we look forward to seeing you there. Registrations are now open.

For further information, contact Kevin Peachey on 9667 5529.

Call to Parties companion document – land use planning

The MAV Board resolved in its July meeting to endorse the draft MAV Call to Parties document and approve its release for member feedback. The document has now been circulated to council CEOs and MAV Representatives for feedback.

The MAV planning team developed a companion document to provide a detailed narrative behind the planning commitments sought as part of the broader MAV Call to Parties document. The issues incorporated into the document are not exhaustive, but focused on priorities where the MAV can be influential in securing positive outcomes.

We’d like to thank the MAV Planning Committee for their detailed feedback on the document. The document has been informed by feedback on recent planning reform initiatives over the past four years and various forums convened by the MAV.

For further information, contact Gareth Hately on 9667 5596.

In other news...

Bushfire planning provision changes

Last week DTPLI ran a briefing on the recent changes to the bushfire planning provisions. A copy of the presentation, along with a MAV video recording, is now online. We hope the recording is useful for internal briefings. The video features John Ginivan, Simon Cover and Kevin Hazell from DTPLI.

Amendment VC109 was gazetted on 31 July 2014 which included significant changes to the bushfire controls contained within the Victoria Planning Provisions. There are no transitional provisions. The changes to the bushfire controls take effect immediately and apply to any applications which have not been determined (including the change in CFA’s status as a referral authority).

The following clauses have been amended:

  • Clause 44.06 – Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO)
  • Clause 52.47 – Planning for Bushfire
  • Clause 52.48 – Bushfire Protection – Exemptions
  • Clause 66 - Referral and Notice Provisions.

Specific changes include alterations to application requirements, layout and operation of some clauses i.e. new alternate measures and approved measures, and defendable space requirements.

Further information including an information sheet, fact sheet and practice note are available.

Bushfire Planning Assistance Fund

A Bushfire Planning Assistance Fund has been established to provide assistance to councils to:

  • Develop and finalise localised schedules to the Bushfire Management Overlay
  • Streamline planning permit requirements
  • Assess relevant bushfire planning permit applications

Councils can apply for assistance by filling out a Scope of Works form on the Rural Council Planning Flying Squad webpage. Please note this is not limited to rural and regional councils.

CFA Standard Planning Permit Conditions work

The MAV and CFA convened a small working group of councils to identify improvements to the current suite of standard planning permit conditions. The conditions have now been amended to broadly reflect feedback and the amendments to the BMO.

The revised conditions will be published and will now be used by CFA when providing advice to councils. An example of how the conditions could be implemented on a plan will also be published. Some of CFA’s explanatory material and templates that were drafted as part of the review are being revised to reflect the changes, however much of this is covered in Practice Note 65.

We have offered to convene planners to allow DTPLI to provide a detailed understanding of the new bushfire management overlay and the funding available to councils. The Department is considering this proposal.

Live music action agenda

The Minister for Planning has announced changes to the Victoria Planning Provisions to protect live music venues by implementing the 'agent of change principle'. The detail of the changes are yet to be made available. Keep an eye on the DTPLI Live Music Practice Guide webpage and Planning Matters.

While changes to the VPP may be required, due diligence should be encouraged by prospective buyers to fully understand the environment they are buying into. We hope to see documents like the consumer affairs buying and selling guide updated to flag this as an area of investigation prior to buying.

The agent of change principle determines responsibility for noise management. That is, where changed conditions introduced into an environment, for example, through a new use, or changed operating conditions, the reasonable expectations of the existing land uses should be respected.

For existing residents, this means the continued protection of amenity in the event of a change to an existing venue’s operation or the development of a new venue. In these circumstances, the burden of any remedial measures, such as noise attenuation or modified operating practices, falls upon the venue.

For an existing venue operator, this means that where a venue is currently compliant with relevant noise attenuation standards and its operation does not change, new residential or other noise sensitive development should not lead to new compliance costs for the venue operator. The onus of any remedial measures in this instance, falls upon the new resident, owner or developer.

Fishermans Bend: Strategic Framework Plan released

The State Government’s Strategic Framework Plan for Fishermans Bend was released on 28 July, and provides a framework intended to guide future development in Fishermans Bend.

For more information please visit the Metropolitan Planning Authority website and the City of Port Phillip’s website.

Interesting tid bits

Upcoming MAV events...

21 August

Procurement Planning and Specification Development

18 September

Maternal and child health conference

17 October

Future of local government conference


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