Questions to be asked on planning scheme changes

Publish date:

Alongside today’s housing statement, the State Government has gazetted significant changes to all planning schemes.

The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) or councils were not consulted on these changes, despite the significant impacts on communities.

As we work through the details the MAV’s priority continues to be putting Victoria on the right footing for a climate resilient, socially connected and economically thriving future.

We will be seeking further clarity on these changes as they raise several questions and concerns for councils.

Included in the changes is an increased ability for developers to go direct to the State Government to have their projects approved with limited transparency.

MAV Deputy President Cr Joseph Haweil said applications that are classified as significant can choose to go down this alternative assessment pathway.

“Developments can qualify as significant in a range of ways: through the proposed cost of development, being delivered in partnership with the state government, or simply being deemed so by the Minister,” Cr Haweil explained.

“And while residential development must include at least 10 percent of dwellings as affordable housing to qualify as significant, communities will rightly be concerned that the Minister has been given the power to reduce or remove this requirement with no guidelines around when that would be appropriate.”

Also of concern is that the Minister can choose to ignore existing height and setback requirements that would otherwise apply to these developments.

“Councils want to ensure communities are not completely locked out of the planning process with no third party appeal rights in respect of these applications,” Cr Haweil said.

One thing Operation Sandon made very clear is that we need clearer guidelines for decisions and more transparency.

The MAV does not want to see these changes lead to less transparency for the biggest developments in the State. Partnering with local government will be critical in ensuring this doesn’t happen.