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This guide provides information about how the planning system operates under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (PE Act). It explains the planning scheme amendment process, the planning permit application process as well as other related processes.

The guide forms part of a suite of guidance including planning practice notes available on the departments website.

Objectives of planning

PEA s 4
The objectives of planning in Victoria are set out in the PE Act. They are:

a) to provide for the fair, orderly, economic and sustainable use and development of land

b) to provide for the protection of natural and man-made resources and the maintenance of ecological processes and genetic diversity

c) to secure a pleasant, efficient and safe working, living and recreational environment for all Victorians and visitors to Victoria

d) to conserve and enhance those buildings, areas or other places which are of scientific, aesthetic, architectural or historical interest, or otherwise of special cultural value

e) to protect public utilities and other assets and enable the orderly provision and coordination of public utilities and other facilities for the benefit of the community

f) to facilitate development in accordance with the objectives set out in paragraphs a), b), c), d) and e)

fa) to facilitate the provision of affordable housing in Victoria

g) to balance the present and future interests of all Victorians.

PEA s 1
The purpose of the PE Act is to establish a framework for planning the use, development and protection of land in Victoria in the present and long-term interests of all Victorians.

The PE Act is supported by the Planning and Environment Regulations 2015 and the Planning and Environment (Fees) Regulations 2016 which prescribe how certain provisions of the Act are applied.

The Victoria Planning Provisions and planning schemes

PEA s 4(2)(b)
The PE Act provides for a single instrument of planning control for each municipality, the planning scheme, which sets out the way land may be used or developed. The planning scheme is a legal document, prepared and approved under the PE Act. It contains state and local planning policies, zones and overlays and other provisions that affect how land can be used and developed.

The PE Act also provides for the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP) – a template document of standard state provisions for all planning schemes to be derived from. It is not a planning scheme and does not apply to any land.

The PE Act sets out procedures for:

  • preparing and amending the VPP and planning schemes
  • obtaining a permit under a planning scheme
  • settling disputes
  • enforcing compliance with planning schemes and
  • other administrative procedures.

Accessing the VPP and planning schemes

The VPP and all planning schemes, including the associated maps are available to view here.

Explore the guide


This publication may be of assistance to you but the State of Victoria and its employees do not guarantee that the publication is without flaw of any kind or is wholly appropriate for your particular purposes and therefore disclaims all liability for any error, loss or other consequence which may arise from you relying on any information in this publication.

Page last updated: 27/03/24