A submission is a written statement explaining your views about the application and how you may be affected if a permit is granted. If you feel that you are affected by a planning proposal, you can make a submission to the responsible authority (usually the council).

The steps below will help make your submission as effective as possible.

Before you begin

Your submission must:

  • be in writing (typed or clearly written)
  • be addressed to the council and, if objecting to the proposal, be clearly marked as an objection
  • clearly state the reasons for objecting and how you would be affected
  • include the permit application reference number and the address of the land
  • include your name and current contact details. This allows council to keep you advised of any meetings between the applicant and other submitters, or of any changes to the plans or the proposal that the permit applicant makes
  • include your signature and the date of your submission.

Also consider:

  • if a group of people are making a combined objection, such as a petition, you should nominate one contact person
  • some types of objections aren’t allowed, for example an objection relating solely to commercial competition
  • the objection should be lodged by the date shown on the Notice of application, usually within a 14-day notice period.

Step 1: Inspect the plans

Carefully review the plans and the reports provided with the application. See if your property or building is shown on any of them and make a note of your concerns and questions.

Step 2: Discuss the proposal

Discuss the proposal with the council planner and the permit applicant so you understand what's proposed and how you might be affected. Ask them to show what changes or impact the proposal will have on your property.

Discuss the permit conditions with the council planner; appropriate conditions might address or reduce some of your concerns about the proposal. The conditions are very important, particularly if the council planner tells you they intend to recommend that the application be approved.

Step 3: Visit the site

Get a copy of the plans and visit the site so you can assess any impacts of the proposal.

Step 4: Prepare your submission

In your submission, describe how you will be affected if a permit is granted. Suggest how these impacts could be reduced or eliminated by possible changes to the plans or the inclusion of specific permit conditions. Most permit applicants will try to address reasonable concerns.

Your submission will carry more weight if it:

  • is rational
  • is factual
  • specifically addresses the proposal
  • describes how you will be affected.

Most councils have a standard submission form that you can fill out, but you don’t have to use it. Keep a copy of your submission for future reference.

If you lodge a submission you will have the right to apply for a review to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) if council decides to grant a permit.

A submission is a public document and copies may be made available to other people or organisations including the permit applicant, councillors and VCAT.

Step 5: Follow up

After the submission period has closed, find out what the council planner’s recommendation is (if possible) and how the decision will be made. Make sure you know what's going on at this final stage of the application process.

If the application will be decided by council, you might want to make a short presentation at the council meeting to explain your submission:

  • the council planner can tell you whether this is possible and what the requirements are
  • focus on the impact of the proposal
  • explain why the application should be refused or modified.

A register of applications is available for inspection at the council office.

The council must make a copy of every submission available for inspection. They can’t make a decision on an application until at least 14 days after the giving of the last notice.

After the decision is made you can object by applying for a VCAT review.

The person applying for the permit also has the opportunity to object. For example, they can object to conditions the council has placed on the permit, and any failure to make a decision within a specified period of time.