The Planning and Environment Act 1987 has been updated to address planning processes affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) public health restrictions.

Changes have been made to the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to address planning processes affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) public health restrictions. The changes relate to public-facing processes affected by social distancing requirements and the closure of state and local government offices to the public.

The COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020 makes two key changes to the Planning and Environment Act 1987 which will allow planning processes in Victoria to continue:

  • Planning documents previously required to be physically available to view at state and local government offices are now only required to be available for online inspection. This includes copies of planning scheme amendments and submissions and planning permit applications and objections.
  • The requirement that Planning Panels Victoria must conduct its hearings in public will be satisfied if the hearing is available to be viewed by electronic means, either while the hearing is being held or as soon as reasonably practicable afterwards. Those entitled to or invited to participate will be able to do so using remote technology.

Included in the Omnibus Bill is a complementary change to the Local Government Act 2020 allowing councils to hold virtual meetings. This will enable councils to consider planning matters that cannot be delegated to officers, including the adoption of planning scheme amendments.

These measures will take effect the day after the Bill receives the Royal Assent and will be in place for six months.

For more information, view the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020 and the QA - changes planning and legislation (DOCX, 121.7 KB).