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.
Costs to councils of different settlement patterns
Where and how should we grow is a report providing an understanding of the short-, medium- and longer-term triple-bottom line implications for councils of different development scenarios.
The report contains a literature review, case studies of rural Victorian councils and qualitative findings on the cost and benefits of infill, greenfield, dispersed and ribbon 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.
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
On behalf of Rural Councils Victoria we engaged Spiire consultants to undertake a project to improve councils understanding of the different approaches taken to manage small rural lots through the planning system.
The management of small lots falls to councils through planning scheme amendments and the application and development of zones, overlays and local policies and the assessment of planning permit applications.
The purpose of the project was to understand how small lots are being managed, where they are being managed well and move councils towards better practice approaches.
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.
The report 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.