Smart Planning is a two-year program to reform Victoria’s planning system. It is the first funded program to improve the planning system in more than 20 years.

Over the past 20 years, multiple reviews on the planning system have taken place, that have identified issues and ideas for improvement. The most recent being the Auditor General’s, Managing Victoria’s Planning System for Land Use and Development 2017.

Smart Planning aims to address the issues inherent in the planning system by simplifying planning rules and delivering a suite of modern digital tools to improve its operation.

Our planning system provides the framework to effectively manage land-use across Victoria. The planning system should enable the right development in the right places, at the right time.

Victoria’s planning system is large and complex, which makes it difficult to navigate and use. The planning system references around 75,000 pages of information across 8,500 documents, plus 15,000 PDF maps.

Planning regulation has become complex, inaccessible and inefficient. This places unnecessary barriers (time and money) in front of councils, home owners and applicants, which should not be there. Additionally, processes for planning-related tasks are outdated, and not supported by modern technology, which makes doing business with the department unnecessarily difficult and time-consuming.

Consequences of these issues include:

  • lengthy approval times
  • inconsistencies in planning schemes and decision making
  • the planning system is difficult to interpret and understand
  • barriers to public participation
  • higher compliance costs than necessary.

Smart Planning will deliver a suite of improvements to make Victoria's planning system the most efficient and responsive in Australia.

Key objectives of Smart Planning include:

  • simplified planning schemes that are easier to navigate and understand  
  • the planning system will be more responsive to emerging issues in Victoria
  • greater consistency between state and local policy, leading to fewer errors and conflicting planning decisions.
  • simple and automated planning applications and enquiries
  • better access to planning information and policy, that is easier to understand.

Download the Smart Planning brochure (PDF, 1.3 MB) to learn more.

Planning rules reform highlights:

  • Doubled the number of applications that could take advantage of faster assessment times through changes to VicSmart criteria
  • Streamlined regional policy, removing 3000 pages from planning schemes across the state
  • Consulted on a discussion paper on Reforming the Victoria Planning Provisions, which received over 250 submissions
  • Prepared the first of two amendment packages (Amendment VC142) that will remove unnecessary clutter from planning rules and reduce red tape for home owners and business.

Digital planning systems highlights:

  • Successfully launched the VicPlan interactive mapping tool, which is helping 7000 Victorians a month find information on zones, overlays and planning rules quicker and more easily
  • Developed the design, and started the build, of our new online planning scheme amendment and permit systems that will be fully online by June 2018 and will make it easier to do business with the department
  • Completed the design for our new look website that will help Victorians find planning information more easily and quickly.