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Types of planning penalties
If a person or organisation fails to comply with the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (the Act), a planning scheme, conditions on a planning permit or an agreement under section 173 of the Act, they may be liable for penalties.
There are different types of planning penalties that can be applied depending on the breach that has occurred:
- an authorised officer can issue a planning infringement notice
- an enforcement order or interim enforcement order can be sought from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal
- prosecution may be pursued in the Magistrates' Court.
If a planning infringement notice has been issued, the penalty is 5 penalty units for an individual and 10 penalty units for a body corporate.
The penalty for non-compliance with an enforcement order or interim enforcement order is set in section 133 of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998.
The maximum penalty that can apply to prosecution in the Magistrates' Court is 1,200 penalty units. Planning infringement notices, enforcement orders, and interim enforcement orders can also require that measures be taken to resolve the issue.
If a responsible authority (usually the local council) prosecutes for an offence under the Act, all penalties for that offence must be paid to the responsible authority.
The value of a penalty unit for a financial year is fixed by the Treasurer under section 5(3) of the Monetary Units Act 2004.
The value of one penalty unit is $192.31 for the 2023-24 financial year.
More details and information on the penalty unit amount is available at the Department of Treasury and Finance.
Offences under the Planning and Environment Act
|Provision or offence
|Providing misleading information on an application.
|60 penalty units
|Person guilty of an offence for which no penalty has been expressly provided for under the Act.
|Up to 1,200 penalty units if the contravention or failure is of a continuing nature, a further penalty of up to 60 penalty units for each day that it continues.
|Up to $230,772 if the contravention or failure is of a continuing nature, a further penalty of up to $11,539 for each day that it continues.
|Where an infringement notice has been issued for contravening a scheme, permit or section 173 agreement.
5 penalty units in the case of a natural person.
10 penalty units in the case of a body corporate.
$962 in the case of a natural person.
$1,923 in the case of a body corporate.
|Without lawful excuse obstructing an authorised officer or member of the police force.
|60 penalty units
|Person who insults, assaults or obstructs a member of a panel, or misbehaves at a hearing; repeatedly interrupts a hearing or disobeys a direction of a panel.
|60 penalty units
Planning infringement notices
A planning infringement notice is a fast, straightforward method for dealing with minor offences against section 126 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987. Minor offences can relate to using or developing land in contravention of, or otherwise failing to comply with, a planning scheme, planning permit or agreement under section 173 of the Act.
The infringement system also provides the owner or occupier of land who has committed the offence a means of making amends for the offence without a conviction.
Under section 130 of the Act, if an authorised officer of a responsible authority has reason to believe that a person has committed an offence, the authorised officer may serve an infringement notice on that person.
Planning infringement notice penalty
A planning infringement notice may specify a penalty and a time within which the penalty must be paid:
- In the case of a natural person 5 penalty units.
- In the case of a body corporate 10 penalty units.
The failure to pay the infringement penalty by the date specified in the infringement notice may result in further enforcement action being taken and further costs being incurred.
What can a planning infringement notice require?
In addition to requiring the payment of a penalty, a planning infringement notice may require additional steps to be completed to make amends for the offence (refer to section 130 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987).
These steps may include, but are not limited to:
- stopping the development or use of land that constituted the offence
- modifying the development or use of land that constituted the offence
- removing the development that constituted the offence
- preventing or minimising any adverse impacts of the use or development of land that constitutes the offence
- entering into an agreement under section 173 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987
- doing or omitting to do anything else in order to remedy the contravention.
What happens when a planning infringement notice is served?
A person served with an infringement notice can:
- choose to pay the penalty in full by the due date and take the additional steps required by the notice
- apply for an extension of time to pay the penalty
- apply to pay by instalments
- elect to have the matter of the infringement notice offence heard and determined in the Magistrates' Court (refer to section 16 of the Infringements Act 2006)
- apply to have the decision to serve the infringement notice internally reviewed by the responsible authority (refer to section 22 of the Infringements Act 2006 and regulation 8(f) of the Infringements Regulations 2016).
A person served with a planning infringement notice should inform the responsible authority if the additional steps required in the notice are completed before the required date. The responsible authority is required to confirm if the steps have been completed. This must be done without delay.
The authorised officer is then required to serve that person with a further notice stating whether or not the required steps have been taken (refer to section130(5), (6) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987).
Once the penalty has been paid and any additional steps taken, the offender has expiated (made amends for) the offence and no further action can be taken by the responsible authority. It is therefore important for a notice to state precisely what steps are needed, such as stopping, modifying or removing the development or use that constituted the offence.
Page last updated: 04/07/23