French Island, Sandstone Island and Elizabeth Island are unincorporated areas and do not fall within any Victorian municipality. The Minister for Planning is the responsible authority and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning administers the French Island and Sandstone Island Planning Scheme (Planning Scheme) on behalf of the Minister.

As a general guide, the Planning Scheme facilitates orderly use, development and protection of land.

The Planning Scheme acknowledges the islands’ limited access, isolation and infrastructure constraints and seeks to protect the islands’ unique environmental qualities.


What do I need to apply for a planning permit?

You will be required to lodge an Application form with details of the land, including a recent copy of the certificate of title, details of the proposal, estimated cost, existing use and development of the land, applicant and owner details, and an application fee.

You may be required to provide site plans or layout plans, drawn to scale with dimensions, showing:

  • The boundaries and dimensions of the site.
  • Adjoining roads.
  • The location and use of buildings and works on adjoining land.
  • Relevant ground levels.
  • Layout of existing and proposed buildings and works.
  • Elevations of proposed buildings including height, colour and materials.
  • Existing and proposed driveways and car parking.
  • Existing and proposed landscaping.
  • External storage and waste treatment areas.
  • Existing masts, poles or other structures used for energy supply.

What planning fees are payable?

The full list of planning fees can be viewed on the department’s website at Planning and Environment (Fees) Regulations 2016.

Fees for planning permit applications can vary depending on the nature and associated cost of the development, and are calculated using fee units corresponding to the Class and Type of Application and are set out in Table 2 of the Regulations. Fees for amending an existing permit are found in Table 3 of the Regulations, and relate to the Class of permit originally issued.

Who do I need to contact about planning approval?

Before starting the planning permit application you should discuss your proposal with the Gippsland Regional Planning Services team, of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to ensure that the proposed use and development can be accommodated within the provisions of the planning scheme.

Contact the planning staff at:

  • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
  • 71 Hotham Street, Traralgon, Victoria 3844
  • Phone: 03 5172 2533
  • Email: gipps.plan@delwp.vic.gov.au

If the proposed development is of significant scale or is a use likely to impact upon nearby residents it would be useful to discuss your proposal with neighbours or other residents likely to be affected. Where applications require significant assessment against the provisions of the planning scheme, applicants should consider seeking professional planning advice.

Who do I need to contact about a building permit?

A building permit will be required for any building proposed on the land, this is in addition to a planning permit.

A registered private building surveyor can advise whether your proposed development needs a building permit and can provide a building permit if one is needed.

More information about building permits and the building process can be obtained by contacting:

Who do I need to contact for a septic tank?

Applications to install septic and waste water systems must be made to:

Can I apply for a planning permit under VicSmart provisions?

You should contact the Gippsland Regional Planning Services team at gipps.plan@delwp.vic.gov.au or (03) 5172 2533 to discuss whether your proposal would qualify as a VicSmart application.

More information on eligible applications and on the VicSmart planning process  is available through the VicSmart website.

What is a restructured subdivision?

Restructure Overlays apply to three locations: Tankerton Estate and the Bullock and Decoy Swamp area on French Island, and Sandstone Island. The subdivisions in these areas have been restructured in accordance with the land’s environmental capabilities and infrastructure constraints.

The subdivisions were created into small lots without any regard to the topography or capacity of the land to support potential development, and without the provision of services or facilities

Restructure Overlays, which requires a number of lots to be consolidated before development can be considered, have been applied to these areas. The consolidation of lots would not necessarily ensure that development would be permitted.

The Tankerton Estate comprises 699 lots, however the Restructure Overlay allows for a maximum of 19 consolidated lots. The environmental capabilities and infrastructure constraints dictate what form of development can occur on each of the restructured lots.

In the Bullock and Decoy Swamp area, a total of 13 dwellings are permitted in the restructure plan, which reflects the environmental constraints, poor level of access and relative isolation of this part of the island.

Sandstone Island consists of a subdivision of 142 lots created in the 1960s. The restructure plan allows for one dwelling on the island, in accordance with its environmental setting and land constraints.