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Drone delivery services (DDS) refers to the delivery of goods using efficient, zero-emissions aviation technology, such as drones, which can complement conventional ground transport delivery modes. The Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Industry Vision Statement outlines the Victorian Government’s commitment to support industry development and provide certainty to underpin investments in drone, electric aviation and future AAM operations.

Commercial DDS for the purpose of this guidance refers to small to medium sized drones (<25kg) conducting regular ongoing deliveries of small items.

What this guidance does not apply to

This guidance does not apply to larger drones. Guidelines for AAM and heavy lift drones (>25kg) are currently being developed by the Commonwealth Government.

This guidance does not apply to recreational drone users or ad-hoc commercial drone use such as for real-estate or special event photography. Further information for recreational drone users can be found on the Federal Know Your Drone webpage.

Commercial DDS proposals are subject to federal regulatory approvals for aviation safety, aircraft noise, privacy and other related matters. For further information about federal aviation agencies responsibilities, refer to Drone delivery guidelines. Queries about drone noise can be emailed to

Further policy guidance and regulatory frameworks at both the federal and state government levels will continue to be developed where required as the DDS sector matures.

Delivery drone in flight

Drone noise and other impacts

As with usual planning processes, responsible authorities (usually local councils) could reasonably expect to consider DDS proposals that demonstrate how drone noise and other impacts can be mitigated to acceptable levels. Consideration of local impacts and land use planning by responsible authorities may include different factors to those considered under Commonwealth approvals.

Options for mitigating the impacts of DDS could include using quiet drone technology, a separation distance from sensitive uses (such as houses, schools, hospitals and parks) for DDS take-off and landing sites and reviewing frequency of flights and routing operations over less noise sensitive areas. Further information on drone noise and other impacts is available at drone delivery guidelines.

Engagement with communities

Local communities are likely to have a keen interest in proposed DDS.  It is in the DDS operator’s interests to engage early and often with the community to establish and maintain their social licence to operate, in addition to securing necessary regulatory approvals. Early discussions with and input from councils on the best way to engage with local communities is recommended.

A public consultation process and reporting of community feedback may be required as part of Commonwealth noise approvals for DDS.

Where a planning permit is required and is subject to notification, responsible authorities should require coordination of DDS engagement activities where possible in the interests of efficiency for all stakeholders.  Guidance on principles for effective community engagement is available at drone delivery guidelines.

DDS and planning considerations

Where a DDS is proposed, planning approval may be needed for the proposed land use or for the development of the land.  Specific details about a DDS proposal will help guide the responsible authority’s decision on whether planning approval is needed. Information about the location, size, type and flight path and frequency of a DDS proposal, together with potential off-site impacts such as noise and privacy would be useful to submit with an application.

Depending on the nature of a DDS proposal, it may be regarded as a 'transport terminal' or an 'innominate' land use. Alternatively, if part of existing premises where the movement of goods already occurs, DDS proposals may be regarded as an 'ancillary' use. Development of land for DDS proposals (for example, buildings or works) may also require planning approval.

Victorian planning controls applying to airports and airfields or helicopter landing sites are not appropriate for the assessment of DDS facilities.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the planning scheme, a DDS proposal may be required to meet other local, state and Commonwealth requirements (see further information web links below), such as aviation safety and noise regulatory approvals. Responsible authorities are encouraged to consider a DDS application concurrently with other approvals and engage with relevant Federal agencies when necessary. As the DDS sector matures and expands over time, there may be additional planning matters that require further consideration.

General checklist for DDS proposals – guidance Only

  • Has the DDS operator commenced engagement with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) regarding safety approvals?
  • Has the DDS operator commenced engagement with the Australian Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts?
  • Does the DDS operator have a community engagement plan?
    • Does the DDS operator have an approach to abate noise or other impacts over any residential areas (if relevant).
  • Does the DDS operator have a complaint management process?
  • Are the proposed DDS operational details clear and understood (date and time of flights, frequency, proposed routes, potential impacts etc)?
  • Is DDS landing/take-off infrastructure co-located within an existing site (e.g. shopping centre, logistics warehouse, medical facility, commercial property)?
  • Is the DDS proposed for a site that already involves the delivery/transport of goods?
  • Does the DDS proposal involve buildings and works?
  • Is the proposed DDS operation on vacant land with no existing use?
  • Is there sufficient information available to inform the responsible authority’s decision to either support the DDS (with/without a planning permit or conditions), or to not support the proposed DDS operation?

Page last updated: 12/07/24


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