Every planning scheme must include each part of the Victoria Planning Provisions in the same order (see diagram).

Diagram showing the various components of a planning scheme.

Every planning scheme includes the State Planning Policy Framework (SPPF) containing general principles for land use and development in Victoria.  Planning authorities and responsible authorities must take these general principles and specific policies into account in their integrated decision making process.

The Local Planning Policy Framework (LPPF) sets a local strategic policy context for a municipality. There are two parts to the LPPF

  • the Municipal Strategic Statement
  • specific local planning policies.

The LPPF must be consistent with the SPPF.

The Municipal Strategic Strategy (MSS) is a concise statement of the key strategic planning, land use and development objectives for the municipality with related strategies and actions. It provides:

  • a link to the council corporate plan and the planning framework
  • the strategic basis for the local content of the planning scheme, such as local policies and the choice of zones and overlays
  • the strategic basis for decision-making by the responsible authority.

The MSS is dynamic. It’s reviewed and added to periodically to make sure it responds to the changing needs of the community.

A local planning policy is a  policy outlining how the authority will implement the strategies in the MSS.

A local planning policy states what the responsible authority will do in specific circumstances, or the responsible authority's expectation of what should happen. It gives a responsible authority an opportunity to state its view of a planning issue and its intentions for an area.  A local policy provides guidance to decision making on a day to day basis, which is not always achievable in the Victoria Planning Provision (VPP) zones and overlays. It can also help the community understand how a proposal will be considered and what will influence decision making.

Local policies must be taken into account when preparing amendments to the planning scheme or making decisions under the scheme. The responsible authority must decide whether the proposal will produce desirable outcomes.

All land in Victoria has a zone.  Zones specify particular purposes for land, such as business, industrial or residential.  They show what the land can be used for, and include controls relating to buildings and works and subdivision.

Standard zones for statewide application are included in the VPP and are used in all schemes as required. The first purpose of each zone is to implement the SPPF and LPPF, including the MSS and local policies.

Each planning scheme only includes the zones required to implement its strategy. Responsible authorities can’t vary zones or introduce local zones; new zones can only be created with an amendment to the VPP. Some zones have schedules for local circumstances.

A site or area can have overlay requirements in addition to the zone requirements. Generally, overlays apply to a single issue or a related set of issues (such as heritage, environmental concern or flooding). Where more than one issue applies to land, multiple overlays can be used.

Standard overlays for statewide application are included in the VPP.  Each planning scheme only includes the overlays required to implement strategy.

Many overlays have schedules to specify local objectives and requirements.

Particular provisions are specific prerequisites or planning provisions for a range of particular uses and developments, such as advertising signs and car parking. Particular provisions apply consistently across the state. Only particular provisions already in the VPP can be included in planning schemes and they apply in addition to the requirements of a zone or overlay unless specified otherwise.

General provisions are operational requirements which are consistent across the state. They include matters such as existing use rights, administrative provisions, ancillary activities and referral of applications.

A set of consistent statewide definitions is included in the VPP and applies in all schemes. Defined terms are separated into:

  • General Terms
  • Outdoor Advertising Terms and
  • Land Use Terms.

Terms used in planning scheme provisions should be consistent with their meaning in the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (the Act) or the Definition section of the scheme. Other terms have their ordinary meaning; a dictionary is commonly used to define them.

The Planning and Environment Act 1987 allows certain documents to be incorporated in a planning scheme by reference, rather than by physically including them in the scheme.

This list includes all local amendments which have amended the scheme and all amendments to the Victoria Planning Provisions which included a consequential amendment to the scheme. A brief description of each amendment is provided.

Find out more about amendments to planning schemes