A planning infringement notice offers a quick and straightforward method for dealing with minor offences against section 126 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (the Act). These 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 expiating (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.
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 $161.19 for the 2018-19 financial year.
More details and information on the penalty unit amount can be obtained from the Department of Treasury and Finance website.
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).
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.
For more information about planning infringement notices you can refer to chapter 7.2 of Using Victoria's Planning System.
For more information on the infringement notice process you can refer to the Infringements Act 2006, the Infringements Regulations 2016 and the Victorian Department of Justice website.
For more information about planning infringement notices where the Minister for Planning is the responsible authority please contact the appropriate metropolitan or regional department office shown on our Planning Contacts page.
Please contact the relevant local council about a planning infringement notice where the council is the responsible authority.