Background

Non-government schools play a significant role in educating Victoria’s primary and secondary school students, comprising approximately 37% of student enrolments in 2018. Population projections indicate that enrolments will continue to grow and schools are under pressure to expand to accommodate demand.

To address these challenges, the Victorian Government made an election commitment on 8 October 2018 to:

…help build more schools for our growing suburbs sooner, by altering planning laws and creating a dedicated planning unit within the department to help fast-track non-government school approvals for new schools and upgrades.

Media release, ‘Delivering great local schools across Victoria’, 8 October 2018

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has been tasked with reviewing the planning framework to identify opportunities to fast-track non-government school approvals.

Amendment VC165

Amendment VC165 was gazetted on 3 December 2019. The amendment is the first step within a broader planning system review that aims to streamline the planning process for non-government schools.

The changes include a new particular provision at Clause 53.19 (Non-Government Schools), and an amendment to the responsible authority status in Clause 72.01. The amendment will support the expansion and upgrade of primary and secondary schools that receive funding under the Victorian Government Non-Government Schools Capital Fund 2019-20 to 2022-23.

Application types that are subject to the streamlined process are outlined at Clause 53.19.

The streamlined process will apply to projects that receive funding under the Victorian Government Non-Government Schools Capital Fund 2019-20 to 2022-23 and are a planning permit application to:

  • Use or develop land for a new primary school or secondary school.
  • Construct a building on land used for a primary school or secondary school provided the combined gross floor area of all new buildings is 5,000 square metres or greater.
  • Construct additional classrooms on land used for a primary school or secondary school.
  • Increase the permitted number of students associated with additional classrooms on land used for a primary school or secondary school.
  • Remove or replace non-conforming or non-compliant building products on land used for a primary school or secondary school.

The Minister for Planning is the responsible authority for these permit applications. Applications will be exempt from the requirement to give notice and the right for third parties to appeal decisions at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

A dedicated planning unit within the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s Development Approvals and Design team will assess the applications.

The VC65 Advisory note outlines the process for submitting applications to the Minister for Planning:

VC165 Advisory Note

Broader planning system reform

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is currently reviewing the planning system to identify further opportunities for system reform.

More information

If you have questions or need advice about the planning process for non-government school applications where the Minister is the responsible authority, please contact us using the details below.

☎ Phone: 1800 789 386

✉ Email: development.approvals@delwp.vic.gov.au

Page last updated: 04/12/19