In this issue:                                                                     March, 2017

Registration open – MAV Rural and Regional Planning Conference
Plan Melbourne 2017-2050
Coastal planning project
SMART Planning
Biodiversity regulation
New building legislation
Residential Zone Amendments
Housing policy
Development of a Victorian Rural Drainage Strategy
VAGO reports
Smart Cities and Suburbs
Better Apartments
Major Hazard Facilities

What’s happening in planning?

Registration open – MAV Rural and Regional Planning Conference

Registration is open for the MAV Rural and Regional Planning Conference 2017, to take place in Inverloch on 29-30 June. Current speakers include Jack Archer, CEO of the Regional Australia Institute, and Tim Peggie, Lead Director Regional for the Victorian Planning Authority.

We are also calling for expressions of interest from council officers to present to their peers on interesting and innovative projects in their municipality. More information, including registration, is available online.

For more information on the conference and logistics, contact MAV Events on 03 9667 5557. Questions regarding the program or opportunities to present should be directed to Michelle Croughan or Emlyn Breese.

Plan Melbourne 2017-2050

Saturday 11 March saw the long-awaited release of Plan Melbourne 2017-2050. The plan is a revision of the 2014 Plan Melbourne which was largely put on hold following a change of government at the 2014 Victorian election. While it retains much of the same direction, there are a number of differences.

The plan is accompanied by a five year implementation plan which contains the specific actions. This approach will enable Plan Melbourne itself to remain relevant across multiple terms of government with changes in direction able to be reflected in subsequent implementation plans.

The plan will see the establishment of metropolitan regional planning groups to prepare land-use framework plans for the six metropolitan regions identified. Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 also sees an increased focus on housing affordability and diversity, as well as climate change and resilience.

The MAV has prepared and circulated a members brief which goes into more detail on Plan Melbourne and is hosting a DELWP briefing for local government on Friday 24 March, which is now closed for registration.

For further information, contact Michelle Croughan or Emlyn Breese.

MAV/ABM’s Coastal Planning Project

The MAV and the Association of Bayside Municipalities are about to commence a coastal planning project with funding from DELWP.

The project will develop a practical guide for councils about land use planning for coastal hazards and adaptation. It will also prepare local baseline assessments against the guide and identify prioritised land use responses and implementation plans for each of the 10 councils abutting Port Phillip Bay.

The project will build on the Bay Blueprint and Managing Better Now projects previously undertaken by the ABM.

Smart Planning

As part of the ‘Transform’ phase of the State Government’s ongoing review of the planning system, the MAV and DELWP are hosting a workshop to generate ideas of what the planning system should look like. An email has been sent to council CEOs inviting them to nominate one elected councillor and one council officer to represent their council at the workshop, which will take place on 29 March.

For more information, contact Michelle Croughan or Emlyn Breese.

Biodiversity regulation

Following consultation with member councils, the MAV has made a submission into the review of the native vegetation clearing regulations. The central focus of our submission was that councils are generally pleased with the consultation process and proposed changes, but there is a continuing need for DELWP to work with local government in laying down the details of the co-regulatory framework.

We are currently preparing our final submission to the review of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988, incorporating both written feedback from member councils and comments at the consultation session held by DELWP and the MAV on 27 February. Of particular note is our support of changes which would allow DELWP officers to pursue illegal clearing of native vegetation under this act, addressing a significant gap in both suitability of penalties and resources for pursuing enforcement under planning regulations.

For more information on the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, contact Claire Dunn or Emlyn Breese.

New building legislation

The Building Amendment (Enforcement and Other Measures) Bill 2016 has passed the Legislative Assembly with amendments, and is now awaiting a second reading in the Legislative Council.

The amendment seeks to improve the enforcement of the Building Act, provide for further regulation of building practitioners, reform the building permit process and further regulate entry into domestic building contracts.

The MAV is currently preparing a members brief on the amendment which will be finalised and circulated once the Bill has passed both houses of parliament.

Residential Zone Amendments

The State Government has announced amendments to residential zones. While DELWP has not yet released the text of the amendments, the key elements appear to be changes to the height limits in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ), General Residential Zone (GRZ) and Residential Growth Zone (RGZ), the institution of a minimum garden area requirement in the NRZ and GRZ and the removal of a maximum dwelling control in the NRZ.

Housing policy

The last month has seen a number of State Government housing policies announced.

A new long-term standard tenancy agreement will be developed for leases of more than five years to be implemented in 2018.

HomesVic, a pilot scheme, will see the government take up to a 25 per cent equity share in properties with up to 400 first home buyers. First home buyers purchasing a property for $600,000 or less will be exempt from stamp duty, with a concessional rate applying to properties up to $750,000 in value.

Finally, a Vacant Residential Property Tax will be levied at 1 per cent of capital improved value for some vacant properties, although exemptions apply for cases such as holiday homes and deceased estates.

Development of a Victorian Rural Drainage Strategy

DELWP is hosting two regional forums to provide the opportunity for a cross-section of northern and southern councils to provide input to the development of the Victorian Rural Drainage Strategy. 

These will be held in Warrnambool on 17 March, and Echuca on 24 March. Councils in these regions have been invited directly. 

There will be a formal public consultation process that will commence with the publication of a draft strategy in coming months, and the MAV and all councils will have the opportunity to provide written submissions when this is released.

The MAV and two council chief executive officers have also been providing a local government perspective to an interdepartmental reference group comprising a number of stakeholders, including Catchment Management Authorities, Victorian Farmers Federation, Melbourne Water and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs Training and Resources (DEDJTR).

For more information, contact Rosemary Hancock.

In other news...

VAGO reports

Breaking news

Yesterday the Victorian Auditor-General released two reports:

Smart Cities and Suburbs

The Commonwealth Government has released guidelines to apply for funding under the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. The program aims to encourage local governments, the private sector, research organisations and not for profit bodies to work collaboratively to improve the liveability, productivity and sustainability of our cities, suburbs and towns.

Applications are now open and close 30 June 2017.

Better Apartments

The State Government will introduce the Better Apartments Design Standards to all planning schemes in April. Following advice from the MAV, DELWP has reconvened the local government working group to consult on supporting documentation to accompany the design standards to ensure they are ready alongside the gazettal of the standards.

Major Hazard Facilities

The Major Hazard Facilities Advisory Committee has released its final report. The Minister for Planning is now considering the 17 recommendations in the report to respond to them in the second half of 2017. The recommendations include amendments to planning schemes and the Victoria Planning Provisions, the preparation of Ministerial Directions and further consultation with stakeholders.

Upcoming MAV events...

28-29 March

Smart Urban Futures 2017

26 April

Sharing economy masterclass & workshop

29-30 June

Rural and regional planning conference


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