Smart Planning is a two-year reform program to make Victoria’s planning system more efficient, accessible, open and collaborative.
The first two stages of the program were delivered over two years. Funding has been received for a further three years for continuation and full implementation with focus on local government.
The third stage will focus on working with local councils to deliver further digital and planning rules improvements - this will be delivered from mid-2018.
The 2016-17 Victorian Budget allocated $25.5 million for delivery of the Smart Planning program.
Smart Planning is the first funded review and reform of Victoria’s planning system in more than 20 years.
Over that time, planning provisions and schemes grew significantly. Planning regulation has become more complex, inaccessible and inefficient. It contains duplication, inconsistencies and redundancies.
Many planning-related tasks – for planners as well as non-planners – are unnecessarily difficult and time-consuming, using outdated methods not supported by modern technology.
Consequences of these growing issues have included:
- 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.
Smart Planning is unlocking investment and creating jobs through an integrated and comprehensive package of reforms to modernise Victoria’s planning system.
To achieve this, the program is:
- reducing the size and complexity of planning regulation, with simpler planning rules that are more accessible for businesses and the community, creating a more efficient system
- producing a user-focused, easy-to-use online portal for planning applications, information, and services.
- Smarter rules: Reforms to planning rules include:
- - Faster permit processing: Expanding the eligible permit classes for the existing VicSmart fast-track planning permit assessment process for straightforward, low-impact development proposals
- - Simpler rules: Restructure of the Victoria Planning Provisions that will make planning rules and schemes easier to interpret. This includes the removal of old and redundant provisions and terminology, increased flexibility in some provisions and consolidated administrative provisions. In addition, a new VPP User Manual, smart drafting and stricter quality controls will ensure that planning rules do not become overly complex again in the future
- - A new streamlined Planning Policy Framework: An integration of state, regional and local policy that will provide greater consistency, in a framework that is more succinct and easier to use
- Victorian planning portal: An online planning portal at planning.vic.gov.au to act as a single point of entry for Victorian planning information and services, and a searchable online planning library.
- Permits online: An online lodgement system for ministerial permit applications, which will later be extended to other types of permits.
- Amendment Tracking System (ATS): A new online Amendment Tracking System to more efficiently manage local planning schemes in a digital form.
- VicPlan mapping tool: An interactive map that provides spatial views of planning rules and replaces static PDF maps.
The program will create jobs and generate cost savings to industry by making the planning system more efficient, accessible and easier to use and understand. It will make Victoria more attractive for investment. Full implementation of the reforms is expected to generate over 500 jobs and produce savings to industry of $35m per annum.
- Local government
- State government planners
- Homeowners and business owners
- Community and interest groups
- Anyone who engages with the Victorian planning system, or will in the future.
The program is engaging with local councils, industry and the community using a variety of engagement methods.
Contemporary online engagement tools and face-to-face discussions maximise opportunities for all stakeholders to be involved.
Open consultation on digital engagement platform Engage Victoria (engage.vic.gov.au) provided the opportunity for all stakeholders to have their say on proposed reforms to the Victoria Planning Provisions.
Advisory and Technical Reference Groups provide thorough, detailed input into the program’s initiatives.
A variety of other engagement methods including forums, live streams and surveys provide a comprehensive range of consultation opportunities.
Smart Planning is making the planning process more efficient. Additionally, a greater volume of applications will be able to be processed in 10 days through the fast-track VicSmart channel.
Clearer and more concise rules will also cut preparation times for applications and provide greater certainty.
Any changes to planning rules (i.e. zones, overlays or provisions) will be communicated on the planning website and in the Smart Planning newsletter at the time of approval, and only affect future applications.
Smart Planning’s first two stages focussed on addressing reform at a state level.
The new Planning Policy Framework better integrates state and regional policy, and provides the framework for a clear line of sight and integration with local policies. However, the current Stage Two reforms do not remove or alter local policy.
Stage Three of the program will concentrate on fully implementing reforms at a local government level. Councils work within the framework of state planning processes when developing their own, and will benefit from the Smart Planning improvements. Smart Planning will make the system easier to use at a local level and provide better tools to carry out planning tasks.We will be working with councils to make sure that the reforms are applied at a local level.