Changes to the planning scheme are called amendments and the process is set out in the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (the Act). An amendment may involve a change to a planning scheme map (for example: a rezoning), a change to the written part of the scheme, or both.

Councils can amend planning schemes to achieve a planning outcome or to support a new policy direction. For example, if a council wanted to protect the character of a residential area that demonstrated heritage significance it would amend the scheme to introduce a Heritage Overlay to the area.

Amendments to a scheme can have significant planning implications and affect the wider community because they change the way land can be used or developed. They can also change the basis for making planning decisions in the future.

Overview

Find general information on planning scheme amendments including who can amend the planning scheme and how to find out what current amendments are proposed.

Amendments can be:

  • C amendments: changes to one planning scheme
  • GC amendments: changes to more than one planning scheme
  • VC amendments: changes to the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP) and planning schemes
  • V amendments: changes to the VPP only

An amendment can be prepared by any planning authority as specified by the Act.

A planning authority is a minister or agency that has been authorised by the Minister for Planning to prepare amendments. In most cases, the initiating planning authority is a local council, but it may be another minister or government agency. Sections 8, 8A, 8B and 9 of the Act set out who is authorised as a planning authority to prepare an amendment.

Anyone can ask a planning authority (usually the council) to prepare an amendment, but you must be able to demonstrate adequate justification for it. The planning authority will have to be certain that the amendment has planning merit and is consistent with the future strategic directions for the municipality.

The department's Planning Practice Note 46 – Strategic Assessment Guidelines for Planning Scheme Amendments (PDF, 245.1 KB) sets out the matters council should consider before amending its planning scheme.

Amendments can be a small change to one provision, major changes or a substitution.

Planning schemes, amendments to planning schemes and the VPP can be inspected free of charge at the relevant Victorian local government offices and online.

Notice of public exhibition of amendments and approved amendments is published in the regular Victoria Government Gazette every Thursday, although special gazettes may be published on other days if necessary.

In certain circumstances the Minister for Planning has the power to intervene on matters associated with planning scheme amendments.

View the amendments where the Minister has intervened

Overview

Before an amendment can be prepared it must be authorised by the Minister for Planning. 

An amendment to the scheme involves consultation with all the parties who may have an interest in the amendment, or may be affected by it. Usually, an amendment is placed on public exhibition for at least one month.

If there are submissions which cannot be resolved by the planning authority, the Minister for Planning will appoint an independent panel to consider submissions. When it receives the report from the panel, the planning authority must adopt the amendment, abandon the amendment or adopt the amendment with changes.

An amendment becomes part of the planning scheme when it is approved by the Minister and notice is given in the Victoria Government Gazette. A combined permit and amendment process is available if both are required.

Discuss your proposal with your council before you request an amendment.

Councils should contact the department's relevant regional office before making a request.

See reference documents below:

A council or planning authority must obtain the Minister for Planning's authorisation to prepare an amendment. The Minister can authorise a council, any other minister or public authority to prepare an amendment.

See reference documents below:

This stage covers the preliminary investigation, strategic assessment, consultation with relevant parties - including the department's regional office - and the preparation of the amendment documentation.

The planning authority must:

  • discuss the proposed amendment with the department's relevant regional office to ensure that all requirements are met
  • submit exhibition documentation electronically with the department 10 working days before the first notice.

More information:

The amendment will be made available to view publicly. During this time the community can make submissions to the planning authority (usually the council) about the proposal.

You can view the proposal and the exhibited amendment documentation on Planning Schemes Online. If documents aren’t available online, contact the relevant council or the department's relevant regional office.

This stage covers making submissions and the consideration of submissions by an independent panel:

Submissions and the panel report are considered and the decision to adopt or abandon the amendment is made.

See reference documents below for:

The amendment is submitted to the Minister for Planning for approval and the minister's consideration and decision.

Planning authorities must submit documents for approval electronically with the department, including:

  • Template Application form for submitting an adopted amendment for approval (see Templates below)
  • Fees for submitting the amendment for approval are set out in the Planning and Environment (Fees) Regulations 2016.

View the amendment and check its status:

  • Planning Schemes Online includes a brief description of the amendment, relevant dates and, if available, the panel report and the exhibited and approved amendment.
  • Notice is published in the Victoria Government Gazette (see reference documents below).