In this issue:                                                     October-November, 2015

Briefing on Plan Melbourne
Planning fees review
Agricultural Industry Advisory Committee review
State Environment Protection Policies on Noise
Recognising Objectors and Metro Planning Authority Levy briefing
Dependent persons units
New developer contribution reporting requirements
Implementation Reference Group for Infrastructure Contribution Reform
Community Infrastructure Levy Indexation
Infrastructure Victoria established
Interesting tid bits

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.

Briefing on Plan Melbourne

Late last month the State Government released the Plan Melbourne refresh discussion paper outlining a range of new ideas that the government is considering to manage Melbourne’s future growth.

We held a briefing on 9 November for council CEOs and mayors. Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, provided an overview of the discussion paper and the process for engagement with local government.

A recording of the briefing will be available online shortly.

Planning fees review

In late September we publicly welcomed the State Government’s review of planning fees.

The review process will include a stakeholder reference group of councils, data collection, and a formal regulatory impact statement with a consultation period. New fees are expected to commence in the last quarter of 2016.

We hope the review will enable a greater level of cost recovery – taking into account public good and capacity to pay. The review must bridge the gap between costs and cost recovery. This will help reduce pressure on council budgets and ratepayer contributions. We encourage councils to have their say during the review process.

On behalf of the MAV, we’d also like to thank the councils who provided their statutory planning revenue and cost data earlier this year. The information was useful to inform our conversations with the government. We will keep you updated on the project as it progresses.

Agricultural Industry Advisory Committee review

An advisory committee has been appointed to consider how the planning system can support the establishment and expansion of productive, competitive and market-responsive animal industries in Victoria, balancing environmental outcomes and community expectations.

The Advisory Committee is to provide advice to the Minister for Planning and the Minister for Agriculture, in accordance with the approved Terms of Reference on:

  • The role and function of the planning system in supporting the establishment and expansion of animal industries in the context of changing industry practice to increase production, be competitive, and respond to market changes
  • The adequacy of the definition of 'intensive animal husbandry' in Clause 74 of the Victoria Planning Provisions and all planning schemes having regard to emerging farming systems and practices, incremental changes to existing operations over time, and changing consumer preference.

The Advisory Committee is made up of Lester Townsend, Hugh Millar, Katherine Navarro and Lucinda Peterson. Many of you will know Lucinda from her time in local government at several metropolitan, regional and rural councils.

State Environment Protection Policies on Noise

Thank you for your patience while we reviewed the submission and survey responses regarding the Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) review of the State Environment Protection Policies (SEPP) for noise.

The SEPPs control the management of noise from industry, commerce and trade, and music noise from public premises.

A report has been released summarising submissions.

We ran an EOI to seek representatives from councils to participate in an external reference group. This group will act as a sounding board to explore issues and review a draft policy, draft implementation plan and Policy Impact Statement.

There will be a second round of consultation on a draft policy and Policy Impact Assessment in late 2016.

 Recognising Objectors and Metro Planning Authority Levy briefing

The MAV has arranged a briefing by the Department on the Planning and Environment (Recognising Objectors) Act 2015. The Act now requires a responsible authority and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to have regard, where appropriate, to the number of objectors in considering whether a proposed use or development may have a significant social effect. Advisory Note 63 provides more information. The briefing will provide an overview of amendment and give the opportunity to ask questions.

Based on member feedback, we have also asked the Department to provide an overview of the Metropolitan Planning Authority Levy, and clarification on when the levy should be charged. The briefing will be held on 24 November at the MAV office, Level 11 from 10am – 11.30am. An invitation has been circulated to all planning directors. Registrations can be made online.

Dependent persons units

Dependent persons units (DPUs) are an acknowledged form of housing enabling families to look after elderly relatives at home. However, some councils are experiencing difficulties in administering requirements relating to DPUs as there can be a change in use (second dwelling), inconsistency between planning and building requirements, as well enforcement challenges.

We are interested in whether your council has any successful experiences or mechanisms that have assisted in managing DPUs. These might include local laws, local policies, standard conditions (size, removable in nature) or enforcement practices.

For further information, contact Michelle Croughan on 9667 5541.

New developer contribution reporting requirements

As part of reforms to introduce Standard Infrastructure Levies, new reporting requirements have been introduced by the Planning and Environment Amendment (Infrastructure Contributions) Act 2015.

The requirements relate to both development contributions collected under existing Development Contribution Plans and any new infrastructure contributions collected under Infrastructure Contributions Plans (part of the Standard Levy system).

A draft financial reporting template was prepared and circulated to CEOs with feedback reported to the Department.

Implementation Reference Group for Infrastructure Contribution Reform

The MAV and five councils are representing the sector on the DELWP Infrastructure Contribution Implementation Reference Group (IRG). The group is tasked with considering and providing feedback on implementation of the new infrastructure contribution system.

The third meeting of the IRG focused again on public land valuation, an outline of the Road Design Guidelines to come, reporting requirements and templates in the Growth Area setting (metro and regional).

To inform our position on the IRG we are drawing on previous submissions, the infrastructure contribution reform survey we circulated earlier this year, and feedback from planning directors. We have also established a small working group of technical experts in development contribution reform. We’d like to thank you for your feedback so far.

For further information, contact Michelle Croughan on 9667 5541.

Community Infrastructure Levy Indexation

The Minister for Planning is currently considering a request from local government to index the Community Infrastructure Levy under the current Development Contributions System (Section 46L of the Planning and Environment Act 1987).

Currently the Community Infrastructure Levy cannot exceed a maximum of $900 per dwelling. The levy was originally $450 per dwelling when the development contributions system was introduced in 1996 and was adjusted to $900 per dwelling in 2004. The $900 levy cap has not been indexed since 2004.

The MAV, with assistance from several councils, has prepared a paper outlining the financial impact on local government of not indexing the levy and the approximate funding gap for each of the councils. The paper has been sent to all councils. We remain hopeful that the levy will be indexed to return it to its real value set in 2004.

Infrastructure Victoria established

A new independent body called Infrastructure Victoria has been established to create a pipeline of infrastructure proposals and ensure the state’s infrastructure needs are identified and prioritised based on objective, transparent analysis and evidence.

Infrastructure Victoria will include independent members as well as the secretaries of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Department of Treasury and Finance, and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

Infrastructure Victoria is required to publicly release a 30-year infrastructure strategy detailing short, medium and long-term needs and priorities by the end of next year. The State Government will develop a five-year infrastructure plan outlining its priority projects and funding commitments, and Infrastructure Victoria will assess the government’s progress against this plan.

It will be interesting to see how Infrastructure Victoria will work with existing structures such as the Regional Management Forums, Regional Development Australia and Metropolitan Planning Authority subregional groups.

Interesting tid bits

Upcoming MAV events...

24 November

Recognising Objectors Legislation and Metropolitan Planning Authority Levy briefing

1 December

Resilient cities and communities: the new global imperative

8 December

Local Government Shade Forum


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