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«December 2011 Victorian Planning System Ministerial Advisory Committee Initial Report. Geoff Underwood, Chair. Catherine Heggen, Member. David ...»

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Victorian Planning System

Ministerial Advisory Committee

Initial Report

December 2011

Victorian Planning System

Ministerial Advisory Committee

Initial Report

……….…………………………

Geoff Underwood, Chair

……….…………………………

Catherine Heggen, Member

……….…………………………

David Keenan, Member

……….…………………………

Terry Montebello, Member

……….…………………………

Jane Nathan, Member

……….………………………… Leigh Phillips, Member December 2011 Victorian Planning System Ministerial Advisory Committee Contents LIST OF FIGURES

LIST OF ACRONYMS & ABBREVIATIONS

1. INTRODUCTION

2. APPOINTMENT AND TERMS OF REFERENCE

2.1 THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE

2.2 TERMS OF REFERENCE

3. BACKGROUND

3.1 THE JOURNEY SO FAR

4. CONSULTATION AND SUBMISSIONS

4.1 THE APPROACH OF THE COMMITTEE

4.2 SUBMISSIONS

5. ISSUES RAISED IN SUBMISSIONS

5.1 PRIORITISING ISSUES

5.2 EXPECTATIONS OF THE SYSTEM

5.3 BENCHMARKING THE PLANNING SYSTEM

6. PRELIMINARY FINDINGS OF THE COMMITTEE

7. LEADERSHIP OF THE PLANNING SYSTEM

7.1 A VISION FOR VICTORIA

7.2 THE ROLE OF THE MINISTER

7.3 DPCD’S PLANNING ROLE

7.3.1 The Role and Structure of DPCD

7.3.2 Accountability and Structural Problems

7.3.3 Maintaining the Planning System

7.4 LOCAL GOVERNMENT’S PLANNING ROLE

7.4.1 Delegation of Decision Making Powers

7.4.2 Local Government as Planning Authority

7.4.3 Local Government as Responsible Authority

7.5 THE ROLE OF VCAT

7.6 THE ROLE OF PLANNING PANELS VICTORIA

7.7 THE ROLE OF REFERRAL AUTHORITIES

7.8 THE ROLE OF OTHER AGENCIES IN THE PLANNING SYSTEM

8. ARCHITECTURE AND STRUCTURE OF THE PLANNING SYSTEM

8.1 THE PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT ACT 1987

8.2 THE VICTORIA PLANNING PROVISIONS

8.3 THE MUNICIPAL STRATEGIC STATEMENT

8.4 LOCAL PLANNING POLICY

–  –  –

9. THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE PLANNING SYSTEM

9.1 PLANNING FEES AND COSTS

9.1.1 Permit Application Fees and Costs

9.1.2 Planning Review Fees and Costs

9.1.3 Planning Scheme Amendment Fees and Costs

9.1.4 Enforcement Costs

9.2 INFRASTRUCTURE CHARGES BY PERMIT CONDITIONS

9.3 RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS

9.4 SECTION 173 AGREEMENTS

9.5 THE VICTORIA PLANNING PROVISIONS

9.5.1 Structure of Zones

9.5.2 Operation of Overlays

9.5.3 Performance Based Provisions versus Prescriptive Controls

9.6 GROWTH AREA PLANNING AND INTERFACE AREAS

9.6.1 Growth Area Planning

9.6.2 Interface Councils

9.7 STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT

9.8 PLANNING IN RURAL AND REGIONAL VICTORIA

10. THE PROCESSES WITHIN THE PLANNING SYSTEM

10.1 THE PLANNING PERMIT PROCESS

10.1.1 The Appropriateness of a Single Stream Process

10.1.2 Notice Requirements and Material Detriment

10.1.3 Referral Processes

10.1.4 Request for Further Information

10.1.5 Amendments to Planning Permits

10.2 PLANNING SCHEME AMENDMENT PROCESS

10.2.1 Step 1: Requesting an amendment

10.2.2 Step 2: Authorisation

10.2.3 Step 3: Preparation

10.2.4 Step 4: Exhibition

10.2.5 Step 5: Submissions, Panels & Advisory Committees

10.2.6 Step 6: Adoption

10.2.7 Step 7: Approval

10.3 ENFORCEMENT

LIST OF REFERENCES

APPENDIX 1 LIST OF CONSULTED PARTIES

APPENDIX 2 NEWSPAPER NOTICE COVERAGE

APPENDIX 3 LIST OF SUBMITTORS

APPENDIX 4 SUBMISSIONS LIST OF ISSUES

–  –  –

Figure 6 Planning Scheme Amendment Process Page 154 (source: Page 31, Modernising Report) List of Acronyms & Abbreviations

Acronyms and abbreviated terms used in this report include:

Department of Planning and Community Development (‘DPCD’ or ‘the Department’) Development Contributions Plan (DCP) Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD) Growth Areas Authority (GAA) Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution (GAIC) Housing Industry of Australia (HIA) Local Planning Policy Framework (LPPF) Minister for Planning (the Minister) Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS) Native Vegetation Precinct Plan (NVPP) Planning and Environment Act 1987 (the Act) Planning and Environment Regulations 2005 (the Regulations) Planning and Environment Amendment (General) Bill Exposure Draft 2009 (the Draft Exposure Bill) Planning Enforcement Officer Association (PEOA) Planning Panels Victoria (PPV) Planning Permit Activity Report (PPAR) Precinct Structure Plan (PSP) State Planning Policy Framework (SPPF) Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (‘VCAT’ or ‘the Tribunal’) Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP)

–  –  –

1. Introduction Victorians have a multitude of expectations of the planning system. At its simplest, the expectations are that it is fair, insightful and protects the values Victorians cherish.





The planning system in Victoria is vital to the economy. It regulates how land can be used and developed. At its most potent, it prohibits certain uses and forms of development, and allows other activities without the need for any approval.

This Committee has been asked by the Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy, to review the current Victorian planning system and make recommendations on how it can be improved. This review does not extend to an examination of the content of planning policy. Rather, it is about the operation and effectiveness of the machinery of the planning system. This is an important distinction.

It is imperative that the planning system works efficiently, facilitates timely and accountable decision making, produces high quality outcomes and regulates only when necessary.

It has been almost 25 years since the current fundamentals and components of the planning system were introduced. On its election in 2010, the Baillieu State Government announced that a new Metropolitan Strategy would be prepared.

Processes are underway for the preparation of this new Metropolitan Strategy (including new growth corridor plans) and eight growth strategies for regional Victoria.

It is therefore timely that the planning system is reviewed. Among other things, it will ensure that these new high level strategies have the best chance of success.

The Committee encourages the Government and those preparing the Metropolitan and Regional Strategies to make big plans. It is reminded of the vision for Chicago, USA, by David Burnham (1846 1912) when he famously

said:

“Make no little plans...aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever growing insistency...Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty.

Think big.” The Committee also notes two points in the 1929 Metropolitan Town Planning Commission report about the benefits of planning the future of Melbourne.

The first statement is about the emphasis on a long term, comprehensive plan:

–  –  –

“The improvements in accordance with a definite plan may take many years to effect, and may, moreover, vary in minor details as experience and changing conditions dictate, but unless it be comprehensive in its scope it cannot develop efficiently.” The second is a quote in the report attributed to John Burns, author of the

English Town Planning Act, who said:

“What is our modest object? Comfort in the house: health in the home;

dignity in our streets; space in our roads; and a lessening of the noises, the smoke, the smells, the advertisements, the nuisances that accompany a city that is without a plan, because its rulers are governors without ideas, and its citizens without hopeful outlook and imagination. Industry is the condition of a city’s being; health, convenience and beauty the conditions of its well being.” The Committee thanks the Minister for Planning for the opportunity to review the planning system on behalf of the Victorian community. While acknowledging the challenge of the Terms of Reference, the Committee recognises the responsibilities of this opportunity.

The Committee is committed to making recommendations in the best interests of Victoria. In preparing this initial report, the Committee has valued hearing the views of all Victorians, not just those involved directly with the planning system.

The Committee was presented with a multitude of submissions with scores of diverse views. Many submittors enclosed material they had put to earlier reviews and look for responses while others stated that every opportunity must be taken to press for improvement and reform in case the system grinds to a halt under its own weight.

In shaping the task before the Committee, the Terms of Reference use the words ‘review’ and ‘improve’ as well as ‘improving the planning system’. In this initial report, the Committee focuses on conveying the essence of submissions. The first task is to explain what has been said and what the Committee has drawn out of submissions. This is the primary purpose of this initial report.

On some key issues, the Committee goes further to express clear views and makes recommendations where it feels able to do so.

The Committee will deliver a final report in due course, outlining detailed recommendations on all matters raised in this initial report. The final report will be delivered to the Minister for Planning, who will then determine any further action.

–  –  –

The Committee wishes to thank everyone who helped deliver this initial report, particularly Jenny Dzomba, Senior Planner at the Department of Planning and Community Development.

–  –  –

2. Appointment and Terms of Reference

2.1 The Advisory Committee The Victorian Planning System Ministerial Advisory Committee (the Committee) was appointed by the Minister for Planning on 14 June 2011 pursuant to section 151 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (the Act).

–  –  –

2.2 Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference state that the purpose of the Committee is to:

3. “...provide advice on ways of improving the planning system including the legislative base, the structure of planning schemes including the structure of state and local policy provisions, as well as regulations under the Planning and Environment Act 1987.”

–  –  –

The Terms of Reference offer wide scope. The terms state:

“6. Consistent with the purpose of the review, the Committee is to address ways to improve the Victorian Planning System.

–  –  –

7. A focus should be on the functional operation of the provisions of the VPP and planning schemes. The review is not intended to directly review the content of specific planning policies or local planning scheme provisions. However, general observations and conclusions may be made where necessary.

8. In seeking to improve the operation and efficiency of provisions,

the review should seek to ensure that provisions:

- are properly aligned to policy objectives

- do not impose unnecessary costs and delays because of their requirements.

9. A number of VPP provisions have already undergone or are currently undergoing detailed review. Previously reviewed matters or active reviews are not the focus of this review. However, where submissions are made that relate to these matters the Committee should address the submissions having regard to the other review projects, but need not revisit matters already covered. This review is intended to complement these other reviews by addressing additional matters so that, taken together, the VPP continues to be an effective planning instrument.” The method by which the Committee was to undertake its task is also set out

in the Terms of Reference. They state:

“The review is to be carried out in stages.

Step 1: Call for submissions

11. The Committee is to seek submissions from any person who wishes to make a comment about improving the VPP and planning schemes. Submittors should be invited to identify their issue of concern and suggest options for improvement.

Step 2: Analyse and prioritise the issues

12. The Committee is to consider submissions received and inform itself as it sees fit as to the issues and the opportunities for improvement and identify and prioritise the issues and initiatives that the Government should consider.

Step 3: Prepare a priorities and recommendations report

13. The Committee must submit a report to the Minister that makes recommendations on the specified tasks.

14. The Committee may organise itself as it sees fit to carry out its tasks. The Committee may prepare discussion papers, conduct workshops, meet with stakeholders or persons with experience in other planning systems and take any other actions that assist it to inform itself about issues.

–  –  –

15. The Committee must provide submitters with at least 28 days to make a submission.

16. The Committee must provide an opportunity for municipalities to make a presentation to the Committee at least on a regional basis.”

The required outputs of the Committee are explained as follows:

“17. The Committee must produce a written report that summarises

and responds to the specific tasks, including:

- An analysis of issues raised in submissions or otherwise identified by the Committee.

- The recommended actions and priorities for responding to these issues.



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