On this page:

Under these sections of the PE Act, a planning authority must apply to the Minister for Planning (Minister) for authorisation to prepare an amendment.

What is the purpose of the authorisation process?

The purpose of the authorisation process is to determine whether a proposed amendment is:

  1. consistent with the objectives of planning in Victoria, and state and regional planning policy or interests; and
  2. has demonstrated strategic merit; and
  3. makes proper use of the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP).

The authorisation review establishes whether an amendment warrants progression through the planning scheme amendment process, including public exhibition and if required, a planning panel.

This ensures that resources are not expended by councils, communities, panels and stakeholders on an amendment where there are concerns about its merit.

It also reduces the need for revisions of an amendment later in the process, which may result in delays or the need to re-exhibit.
A decision to authorise an amendment is not an indication of whether the amendment will be approved, or that all aspects of strategic justification and drafting have been fully resolved.

If the necessary information is not submitted in full, the authorisation request may be returned to the planning authority.

Early consultation with the department

To support the timely consideration of an authorisation request, early consultation prior to lodging the request is encouraged. This will include understanding the purpose of the amendment and whether it is necessary to deliver the intended outcome. This will enable issues around consistency with state and regional planning policy and interests, strategic merit, and proper use of the VPP tools to be resolved early and may avoid the need to make changes to the amendment at a later stage. It will also help identify information that should be provided to support the proposed amendment and any revisions required to address these concerns. Failure to do so may result in an authorisation request being refused, or put on further review with a request for further information, which may result in delays.

Early consultation with relevant authorities should also be done at this time, including (but not limited to) Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA), Country Fire Authority (CFA), Melbourne Water or the relevant catchment management authority, or transport advice from the Department of Transport and Planning (DTP).

Engagement with Traditional Owners

Planning authorities will need to consider engagement with Traditional Owners prior to submitting an authorisation request and during the amendment process.

Traditional Owners are defined under the Local Government Act 2020 as –

  1. the members of a registered Aboriginal party under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006; and
  2. the members of a traditional owner group within the meaning of section 3 of the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010.

Further information about Victoria’s current Registered Aboriginal Parties can be found on the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council website.

This is to ensure that the planning authority has considered any impacts of the amendment on Traditional Owners’ Country and the interests of these groups, including having regard to the cultural significance of the land, waterways, and surrounding landscape. This may include considering impacts to land where traditional owner settlement agreements or native title applies.

Engagement and genuine partnership with Traditional Owners is best commenced prior to a statutory planning process. When engaging with Traditional Owners, the department encourages planning authorities to understand and respect how Traditional Owners and Victorian Aboriginal communities make decisions. Early engagement will increase the likelihood of achieving genuine self-determination and may also provide for a more efficient statutory process.

Planning authorities will need to consider these matters on a case-by-case basis and at the discretion of Traditional Owners. Not all amendments will need to be subject to engagement with Traditional Owners.

Country is defined by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) –

Country is the term often used by Aboriginal people to describe the lands, waterways and seas to which they are connected. The term contains complex ideas about law, place, custom, language, spiritual belief, cultural practice, material sustenance, family and identity.

A useful resource for engaging with traditional owners can be found at Guidance on engaging with Traditional Owners.

What should be included with a request for authorisation to the Minister?

A request for authorisation must be lodged through the online Amendment Tracking System (ATS) (planning.vic.gov.au).
The request must consider how it is consistent with state and regional planning policy and interests, demonstrates strategic merit and makes proper use of VPP.

Preparation of these documents listed below should occur alongside consideration of the Planning Practice Note 46: Strategic Assessment Guidelines for preparing and evaluating planning scheme amendments (PPN46).

Documents to submit via ATS for a request for authorisation

Draft Explanatory report

Covers strategic assessment content and is an information report for people who are viewing the amendment.

Draft Instruction sheet

Sets out the instructions for amending the planning scheme.

Map sheets

Amendment map sheets to show any changes to zones or overlays.

Draft ordinance (drafted in ATS)

The draft clauses and schedules proposed to amend the planning scheme.

Draft Incorporated or Background documents (if relevant)

Provided where the schedule to Clause 72.04 (Incorporated documents) or Clause 72.08 (Background documents) are amended.

Draft Supporting documents

Technical, background or specialist reports as needed to demonstrate the strategic merit of the proposal, such as an economic assessment or a heritage study.


Any advice received from relevant authorities or agencies.

Traditional Owner considerations

See above for further information.

Council resolution (if relevant)

A copy of the full council or delegate report. It is recommended this report includes a resolution which allows for flexibility to address changes required by the Minister for Planning at authorisation stage. For example – Authorises the X (i.e., Director or CEO) to make any further changes to the amendment to comply with the Minister for Planning’s authorisation conditions.

96A application considerations

Applications for a planning permit submitted concurrently with a request for authorisation must meet requirements under section 96A of the PE Act. All relevant information under the PE

Act and the Planning and Environment Regulations 2015 (PE Regulations) must be submitted. See appendix B for details of requirements.

Tailored information

Some amendments require specific information dependent on the type of amendment.

Appendix B provides examples of common amendment types and the required information.

Tips for a streamlined authorisation process

Planning authorities should consider the following tips before submitting an authorisation request to help reduce the risk of delays, or authorisation being given subject to conditions or being refused. Consider whether the authorisation request has demonstrated:

  • Consistency with state and regional planning policy and interests:
    • Avoids proposals that conflict with adopted state or regional policy.
    • Avoids duplication of state or regional policy or provisions in proposed local provisions, for example, repeating state or regional policy on good design in a proposed Design and Development Overlay schedule.
  • Strategic merit:
    • Suitable strategic justification and analysis to support the proposal, such as adopted strategies and structure plans.
    • Appropriate background documents, incorporated documents and supporting documents (for instance, technical work) submitted.
    • Appropriate referral advice requested and submitted (i.e., Environmental Audit Overlay).
    • Background information included in the explanatory report that specifically addresses the key headings (i.e., why is the amendment required) and required information, such as bushfire risk.
    • Consistency between drafted provisions and the recommendations of the strategic work, such as adopted strategies and structure plans (for example, strategic work recommends discretionary heights yet mandatory heights have been proposed).
  • Proper use of VPP:
    • Uses the appropriate VPP tools and/or justification or explanation of the tool chosen. These are referred to under the Planning Scheme Rules in A Practitioner’s Guide to Victoria’s Planning Schemes.
    • Does not include provisions to regulate a matter that is outside the remit of planning and better regulated through another process or legislation, such as the Building Act 1993.
    • Drafted in accordance with the Ministerial Directions, Planning Practice Notes and A Practitioner’s Guide to Victoria’s Planning Schemes.
    • Includes consequential changes to the planning scheme required as a result of the amendment, including operational provisions such as background documents and maps.
    • Includes an explanatory report that is drafted appropriately. Consider using subheadings for multiple unconnected changes to provide clarity. The report should also ensure that it reflects the current stage of the amendment process (for instance, authorisation stage should state ‘the amendment proposes’ or ‘is proposing to’ and not ‘the amendment will’).
    • Correct mapping of proposed changes.

Relevant documents to consider

As well as this guidance, consider the following documents when preparing your authorisation request:

  • Ministerial Direction: The Form and Content of Planning Schemes provides guidance on the appropriate use of the VPP and includes standard templates for local schedules.
  • Ministerial Direction No.11: Strategic Assessment of Amendments provides a framework for preparing and evaluating a planning scheme amendment.
  • Planning Practice Note 46: Strategic Assessment Guidelines explains the application of Ministerial Direction No.11: Strategic Assessment of Amendments.
  • A Practitioner’s Guide to Victoria’s Planning Schemes sets out key rules for practitioners who are preparing a new or revised provision for a planning scheme.
  • Ministerial Direction No.15: The Planning Scheme Amendment Process sets out required timeframes for the planning scheme amendment process following a planning authority receiving authorisation to prepare an amendment.
  • Using Victoria’s Planning System: ‘Chapter 2: Amendments’ provides a technical guide for the amendment process.
  • Other relevant Ministerial Directions and Planning Practice Notes.

These documents can be accessed via the department’s Planning webpage.

The process for authorisation requests

1. Discuss and prepare

Pre-authorisation discussions with the department are encouraged to help determine any issues with the request and any information requirements The planning authority should prepare on authorisation request considering any advice received from the department

1.1 Proponent requests (where relevant)

If a proponent wishes to submit an amendment request, see Appendix A.

2. Legislative timeframe

10 business days (s8A(7) of the PE Act)

Please note

This practice note refers to legislative requirements under section 8A of the PE Act Section 86 and 9 of the PC Act have different legislative requirements for authorisation requests.

If an authorisation request a for the preparation of an amendment that includes land that falls within a Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) planning area, the Minster must refer the application to the SRL Minister and must not authorise the preparation of the the amendment without consent from the SRL Minister. For applications that fall in this category, the decision making timeframe of 10 business days does not apply.

2.1 Submit

The planning authority submits o request for authorisation via ATS containing the required information The application is allocated to a deportment officer.

2.2 Initial deportment assessment

The allocated department officer will review the application in terms of consistency with state planning policy and interests, strategic merit, appropriate use of the VPP, and whether the necessary information has been provided, as guided by this practice note. Policy advice may be sought from relevant parts of the department or other agencies

2.3 Decision from Minister or delegate

The Minister or delegate may:

  1. Authorise the preparation of the amendment; or
  2. Authorise the preparation of the amendment subject to conditions, including conditions relating to notice; or
  3. Require further review; or
  4. Refuse authorisation for preparation of an amendment

If the planning authority has not been notified of the Minister's or delegate's decision after 10 business days, the planning authority may proceed to prepare the amendment without the Minister’s or delegate's authorisation.

2.3.1 Further review

If the Minister or delegate decides that a request requires further review, it will be placed on 'further review' in ATS
Following that review, the Minister or delegate may:

  1. Authorise the preparation of the amendment; or
  2. Authorise the preparation of the amendment subject to conditions, including conditions relating to notice, or
  3. Request further information or changes from council to support the application; or
  4. Refuse authorisation for preparation of the amendment

2.3.2 Planning authority responds to request

If required, the planning authority submits further information or makes changes to support the authorisation request and address the request from the Minister or delegate.

Discussions with the department are encouraged to ensure that the prepared documents or changes to the amendment will satisfy the request If the request is not satisfied, the planning authority runs the risk of a further delay, or potentially a refusal.

Target timeframe: specified in request from Minister

2.3.3 Final assessment and decision from Minister or delegate

The department officer will review the planning authority's response to the request for further information or changes, in addition to their request for authorisation This will be assessed in terms of consistency with state planning policy and interests, strategic merit, appropriate use of the VPP, as guided by this practice note.

Following review of the planning authority’s response, the Minister or delegate may

  1. Authorise the preparation of the amendment, or
  2. Authorise the preparation of the amendment subject to conditions, including conditions relating to notice; or
  3. Refuse authorisation for the preparation of an amendment.

3. Authorisation

After further review and assessment, authorisation is either granted or refused.

3a Authorisation refused

The planning authority cannot progress the amendment

3b Authorisation granted (with or without conditions)

If the authorisation is subject to conditions that require changes, the planning authority must update the amendment prior to exhibition.

It is recommended that the conditional changes are discussed with the department to confirm they are met prior to submitting documents for exhibition.

Page last updated: 14/05/24