The Planning and Environment Amendment (General) Act 2013 (the General Act) amended the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

The key planning reforms in the General Act:

  • Abolished Development Assessment Committees.
  • Created a Planning Application Committee to work with councils to deliver better local planning decisions.
  • Created two types of referral authority that will be set out in planning schemes.
  • Improved the exchange of information between responsible authorities, referral authorities and applicants.
  • Introduced reporting to the Minister from planning authorities, responsible authorities and referral authorities, improving the transparency of the planning system.
  • Improved the processes for amending planning schemes and assessing planning permit applications by reducing delays and speeding up information exchange.
  • Streamlined the decision-making process at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
  • Improved the operation of planning agreements by expanding the options for amending and ending agreements.
  • Made miscellaneous changes to improve the operation of the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

The General Act also amended the Subdivision Act 1988 and Local Government Act 1988.

Download a copy of the General Act

The guide explains:

  • the main reforms in the General Act
  • how existing processes will change
  • how new processes will work.

Where relevant, the guide also identifies the changes to subordinate planning instruments required before the reform can come into operation.

Stage 1 of the General Act commenced on 22 July 2013. It included changes that could be implemented without the need for further action or consultation, such as:

  • removal of Development Assessment Committees
  • creating the new Planning Application Committee
  • improvements to reduce VCAT's workload
  • clarification of the allocation of liability for compensation arising from the reservation of land for public purposes
  • a range of technical improvements to improve the general operation of the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

More information about Stage 1 is available in Advisory Note 51: Commencement of Stage 1 of the Planning and Environment Amendment (General) Act 2013 (PDF, 293.1 KB) or (DOC, 84.0 KB).

Stage 2 of the General Act commenced on 28 October 2013 and included:

  • amendments to the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (the PE Act) and the Subdivision Act 1988 (the Subdivision Act)
  • consequential amendments to:

The amendments to the Subdivision Act, VPP, planning schemes and Minister's Directions No. 11 and No. 15 commenced on 28 October 2013.

The Planning and Environment Amendment Regulations 2013 commenced on 29 October 2013.

The amendment to the Ministerial Direction on the Form and Content of Planning Schemes commenced on 23 October 2013.

More information about Stage 2 is available in Advisory Note 54: Stage 2 of the Planning and Environment Amendment (General) Act 2013 (PDF, 179.3 KB) or (DOC, 116.5 KB).

Two planning practice notes have been updated:

The Planning and Environment Amendment Regulations 2013 (PDF, 635.5 KB) commenced on 29 October 2013.

The amended Planning and Environment Regulations 2005 can be viewed on the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website.

Changes to the permit application process include:

  • new form for a planning permit granted under section 63 and 86 of the PE Act (Form 4):
    • information about whether the permit can be amended by the responsible authority can be included on the permit
  • new forms for notices of decisions on planning permits (Forms 5, 6, 7 and 8):
    • these forms can now be used to give notice of decisions to a recommending referral authority
  • setting out the information a responsible authority must give to a referral authority when referring a permit application (new regulation 20A)
  • Setting out the information that a referral authority must keep in the register of applications referred to it (new regulation 23A)
  • clarifying when the 60 day period for applying for review of a permit condition under section 80 of the Act starts to run (regulation 32)
  • setting a 21 day period for a recommending referral authority to apply for review of a responsible authority's decision to grant a permit (new regulation 34A).

The Amendment Regulations are mostly similar to the draft proposed Regulations released for feedback in August 2013. The key changes made in response to feedback include:

  • the classes of amendment prescribed for the purposes of section 20A of the PE Act
  • the information to be recorded in the referral authority register
  • the information to be included in an application for agreement to a proposal to amend or end an agreement
  • the information to be included in a notice of a proposal to amend or end an agreement
  • the times within which applications for review may be made in relation to the new process to amend or end an agreement.

View the draft proposed amendment Regulations (PDF, 142.4 KB) showing the changes that were made following feedback.