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What is planning?

Planning is a way of creating a better Victoria for everyone. Planning covers the rules that govern land use and development in Victoria. Everyone can be involved in creating and influencing the creation of planning schemes.

Some of the objectives of planning in Victoria are to make sure land use and development:

  • is orderly, economic and sustainable
  • protects natural and manufactured resources
  • secures a pleasant and safe working, living and recreational environment for all Victorians and visitors to Victoria
  • conserves areas and buildings that are of scientific, aesthetic, architectural or historical interest, or otherwise of special cultural value
  • protects public utilities and other assets for the benefit of the community
  • facilitates the provision of affordable housing in Victoria
  • balances the present and future interests of all Victorians.

How does planning affect our everyday lives?

Planning impacts our daily lives and future. It affects the places we live and work in as well public spaces, buildings, and infrastructure. It protects the environment and promotes sustainable living, considers the current and future impact of new projects and how they are approved.

Planning affects all of us on a large and small scale. It shapes the way we get to work or school and the public transport or parks that we use regularly. It affects decisions on the buildings and infrastructure that springs up around us in our lifetime and last for generations to come. It lays the groundwork for conserving our environment, protecting land from bushfire and flooding, offering improved lifestyles, and requires developers to balance impacts when seeking approval for new projects.

If you own a home or a business and want to do something on your land, you may need a planning permit from your local council or the Department of Transport and Planning (DTP). Each year the planning system processes around 55,000 planning permit applications, which represents around $30 billion of future investment in Victoria. You can ask your local council whether you need to apply for a planning permit.

Find out how to get started in applying for a planning permit.

Applying for a planning permit

How does planning work?

DTP is part of the state government and works together with local councils in Victoria to implement the objectives of planning. Each council in Victoria has its own planning scheme which it uses to help deliver planning objectives.

A planning scheme contain provisions that apply to land use and development, made up of maps and ordinances. The ordinances consists of the written clauses that provide rules for land use and development. Maps depict where zones and overlays apply within the municipal area of a planning scheme.

Planning schemes are constructed by using the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP), a standard set of policies, zones, overlays and other provisions written by the state government. It provides some rules and a consistent layout that planning schemes must use, and others that councils can choose to include or add additional information. Planning schemes are given power by the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and can only be changed by a formal planning scheme amendment process.

Learn how to read a planning scheme.

Planning schemes

Page last updated: 14/06/23