Launched in July 2016, Smart Planning is a two-year program to reform Victoria’s planning system. It is the first funded review and reform of the planning system in more than 20 years.

Subject to funding, a proposed additional stage of the program – known as ‘Transform – would focus on long-term solutions to meet the challenges of the next 30 years.


Smart Planning’s objectives are to:

  • simplify planning regulation – this will improve the quality, consistency and efficiency of planning decision making
  • develop digital systems that allow citizens, industry and government to more easily access and understand planning rules and processes – this will boost activity, participation and efficiency.

The need for reform

Over the past 20 years, Victoria’s planning system has grown significantly. When Smart Planning was launched, the planning system included a massive 75,000 pages across 8500 documents, plus 15,000 PDF maps.

Planning regulation has become complex, inaccessible and inefficient.

Additionally, processes for planning-related tasks are outdated, and not supported by modern technology. Many tasks are unnecessarily difficult and time-consuming, affecting all users of the system.

Consequences of these growing issues include:

  • lengthy approval times
  • inconsistencies in planning schemes and decision making
  • a system that is difficult to interpret and understand
  • barriers to public participation
  • higher compliance costs than necessary
  • less effective policy implementation.

Benefits of Smart Planning reform

Smart Planning is making Victoria's planning system the most efficient and responsive in Australia, and driving investment.

Through rules and policy reform, and the development of new digital systems, planning will be more effective, transparent and collaborative.

Policy implementation will be made more effective by:

  • a planning system able to more quickly and effectively respond to evolving needs in land use and development
  • greater policy consistency, leading to fewer errors and conflicting planning decisions.

Processes will be made more efficient by:

  • simple and automated planning applications and enquiries
  • improved land-use policy implementation and planning system management
  • better access to planning information and policy, that is easier to understand.

Certainty around land-use will improve, with high quality information and simplified planning controls, increasing transparency and certainty.

Planning information and services will be more accessible via a single point of entry, the Victorian Planning Portal.

These improvements will save applicants money on specialist advice, and holding and processing costs.

More information

Download the Smart Planning fact sheets:

For more information, view the Smart Planning FAQ page.

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