Skip to Content

Rural planning

​We represent local government on issues of rural and regional planning policy and provide support to rural councils in the delivery of their planning services.

There are many land use challenges facing rural Victoria including:

  • changing rural land use and managing settlement growth in rural areas
  • managing hazards such as bushfire, floods and landslip
  • complex land uses and their impacts such as extractive industries, wind farms and plantations
  • changing access to water
  • environmental protection
  • rural amenity.

Rural and Regional Planning Conference

We convene an annual conference for planners, senior managers, CEOs, councillors and associated professionals interested in rural and regional land use planning practices.

The conference provides the opportunity to:

  • share cutting edge practice in rural and regional planning
  • gain insights into future proofing rural and regional Victoria through best practice examples
  • equip you to plan more effectively for your municipality
  • workshop challenges in rural and regional Victoria
  • create a platform for innovation and land use change
  • hear from the decision makers in the industry.

See presentations from previous Rural and Regional Planning Conferences.

Rural Land Use Planning Forum

We convene a quarterly rural land use planning local government group to raise awareness and understanding of rural land use planning issues. It also provides a forum to discuss common topics of mutual interest and explore alternative solutions, as well as allowing engagement with rural councillors and planners.

The forums are designed to:

  • raise awareness, discussion and understanding of rural land use planning issues
  • identify and explore critical strategic issues affecting land use planning for rural Victoria
  • collaborate with state government and relevant authorities on rural land use planning issues facing councils
  • provide a forum for councils to discuss rural land use planning topics of mutual interest and to explore alternative solutions
  • provide a forum for state and federal government, and others, to effectively engage with rural councillors and planners.

Join a forum by checking our upcoming events regularly.

See the terms of reference (Word - 304KB) for the Forum.

Costs to councils of different settlement patterns

The Financial costs of settlement patterns in rural and regional Victoria modelling tool (Spreadsheet - 625KB), released in 2013, provides rural and regional councils with insights into the costs of different settlement patterns based on essential infrastructure items.

Settlement planning that utilises existing infrastructure and services can create cost efficiencies. However, the location and form of new development can highlight a disjunction between council’s strategic objectives and subdivision planning and development.

This tool is not intended to replace technical advice as the cost of providing infrastructure varies significantly across Victoria. It is an investigative tool only.

Our 2012 report Where and how should we grow (Word - 1.36MB) described the short-, medium- and longer-term triple-bottom line implications for councils of different development scenarios.

Bushfire commission recommendations

Following the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, the Victorian Government is implementing the planning recommendations contained in the commission’s final report. We hosted workshops with the Victorian Government to help develop the recommendations.

Wind farms

Councils affected by wind farms have developed a common position and are now negotiating with the Victorian Government about adequate transitional arrangements. These transitional arrangements include, the return of applications to councils, and access to expert support on noise, flora, fauna, landscape and other matters.

The Wind Farm Officers Group on Yammer is a forum for council officers to share ideas and collaborate on wind farm issues.

Peri-urban assessment tool

The peri-urban group of councils is currently trialing the peri-urban matrix assessment tool which aims to help planners develop and assess planning scheme amendments and planning permit applications.

Open potable water supply catchments

We are helping a working group of councils and the water industry examine how the Open potable water supply catchment guidelines can operate more sensibly and consistently within those catchments used primarily for domestic water supply purposes.

Small Rural Lots Project

We aimed to understand how small lots are being managed, where they are being managed well and move councils towards better practice approaches through the Small Rural Lots Project.

We enaged Spire consultants to undertake this project on behalf of Rural Councils Victoria.

The report found that some councils have established farm advisory committees to provide advice on whether a dwelling is reasonably required to support agriculture. It also lists local policies; planning permit checklists; and a set of planning permit conditions typically used for dwelling on small lots.

It highlighted factors outside of planning that influence demand for dwellings on small lots. Stamp duty and lending criteria are both favourable toward small lots in comparison to larger titles.

The report also notes that the historically attractiveness of occupying small lots in the rural zones to operate an agricultural activity and achieve a tax benefit through its operation is reportedly eroding over time.

Managing Residential Character in Rural and Regional Victoria

The MAV commissioned Planisphere to prepare a report defining the characteristics of residential development in rural and regional areas. The report also outlines mechanisms that can guide improved residential development and identifies areas of potential reform.

Read the report:

For further information, contact Michelle Croughan.

Internal links

Contact us

Gareth Hately
Manager, Planning and Building Infrastructure
03 9667 5596

Kevin Peachey
STEP Planning Improvement Program
03 9667 5529
0411 060 186

Michelle Croughan
Planning Policy Adviser
03 9667 5541
0418 115 122