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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 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.

See Rural Land Use Planning Forums for more information.

Agricultural overlay report

The creation of an agricultural overlay to manage productive agricultural land was recently raised by the government and included for investigation under the Plan Melbourne metropolitan strategy. We have provided a summary report of council views about the concept of an agricultural overlay. The document draws on survey results gathered at the MAV’s November 2013 Rural Land Use Planning Forum and seeks to inform future development of government policy.

Read the MAV Report: Sector feedback on the concept of an agricultural overlay (PDF - 400KB).

Costs to councils of different settlement patterns

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

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 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.

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.

More information


 Related documents


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 Contact us


Gareth Hately
Manager, Planning and Building Infrastructure
P: 9667 5596

Kevin Peachey
STEP Planning Improvement Program
P: 9667 5529
M: 0411 060 186

Michelle Croughan
Planning Policy Adviser
P: 9667 5541
M: 0418 115 122