Skip to Content

Planning system

We support and strengthen local government to fulfill its planning functions and improve the planning system.

Local government has three key roles under the Planning and Environment Act 1987. Councils:

  • set a strategic policy framework for the municipality through its planning scheme
  • administer and enforce the planning scheme
  • make decisions on individual planning permit applications.

Each council prepares a planning scheme for its municipal district. A planning scheme contains:

  • a state planning policy framework
  • a local planning policy framework
  • zone and overlay provisions that control the use and development of land.

As part of its local planning policy framework a council prepares a municipal strategic statement and local planning policies. These reflect the community’s priorities and guide planning decisions.

We participate and respond to a wide range of legislative and planning scheme matters. For the most up-to-date activities in this area view our Land Use Planning Bulletins.

Planning law

A review of the Planning and Environment Regulations 2005 was commenced to reconsider the regulations prior to their sunsetting in 2015.

The MAV has made a submission supporting the framework of the regulations but suggesting they could better address some system issues such as what makes a complete application and permit pathways.

Read the Submission to the Review of the Planning and Environment Regulations 2005 (Word - 335KB).


The new VicSmart approvals process commenced on 19 September 2014 for a range of simple planning permit applications.

The MAV has prepared this 15 minute video for CEOs and council executives to explain what VicSmart is and what it means for councils.

Presenter: Rob Milner – 10 Consulting Group.

What is ​VicSmart?

Transcript (Word - 41.9KB)

Risk based enforcement

The Stronger Planning Enforcement – Risk Assessment Tool and Supplementary Resource have been prepared by Rural Councils Victoria and the MAV to assist councils to determine enforcement priorities, having regard to available resources.

The documents adopt a risk assessment approach through a process of identifying areas for proactive and reactive enforcement and determining the risk profile of potential breaches.

They are designed to complement existing policies and complaint handling procedures.

Review of planning fees

The Planning and Environment (Fees) Regulations were extended on an interim basis until 22 April 2013 and continue to be in need of review.

The MAV continues to advocate for both a review of the fees and indexation of the fees to ensure they do not become outdated.

STEP planning program

The STEP Planning Program helps member councils examine their strategic, statutory and enforcement planning services on a regular basis to make quality and efficiency breakthroughs.

More information