More efficient planning rules

The Smart Planning program will reduce the size and complexity of Victoria's planning regulation. Simpler planning rules will create a more efficient system that is easier to understand.

And as we establish new digital planning systems, even more opportunities to simplify rules and processes will become available.

Increasing use of VicSmart

VicSmart is a 10-day fast-track planning assessment process for straightforward, low impact development proposals. It was introduced in 2014.

In early 2017,  the Minister for Planning announced the expansion of VicSmart, with new permit classes added and some existing classes extended. This means more permit applications by home renovators, small businesses and people in rural areas will be eligible for the streamlined assessment.

From 2014-2016 only seven per cent of eligible permit applications were processed through VicSmart, so we’re working with councils, the community and industry to improve awareness and support.

The changes are expected to double the number of VicSmart permit applications per year from 4000 to 8000.

Improving zones, overlays and particular provisions

The overlays in the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP) and local schedules to these overlays are sometimes inconsistent, and even contradictory. This is particularly problematic on sites with multiple overlays. Increased uncertainty and confusion – especially about whether a permit is required – has reduced public confidence in the planning system.

To ensure statewide consistency, we will improve zone controls, and rationalise and simplify overlays.

This will:

  • reduce duplication
  • limit permit trigger
  • more effectively implement government policy
  • increase clarity and certainty for homeowners, business owners and investors.

Simplifying the state's zones and overlays will also provide flexibility to cope with future innovation and changes in land use.

Streamlining the State Planning Policy Framework (SPPF)

The State Planning Policy Framework (SPPF) is the state's overarching planning regulatory framework. Cumulative amendments to the VPP and local planning schemes have made it longer and more complex. Policies and provisions now contain inconsistencies, duplication and redundancies.

This makes it more difficult for members of the community and industry to understand and effectively participate in the planning process.

The Smart Planning program will review, restructure and simplify the SPPF to better integrate state, regional and local planning policy.

To do this we will:

  • identify and remove repetition, inconsistencies and redundancies
  • ensure terminology is consistent and easy to understand
  • undertake any relevant policy-neutral corrections or updates.

The first stage will incorporate the Plan Melbourne 2017 - 2050 into the SPPF. By late 2017, the integrated planning policy framework will allow local planning schemes to be able to be tailored to local needs.

This work will allow local and state policy to be used together more easily and provide greater certainty for all users of the system.

Model planning scheme / rules reform

The Reform stage will see the development of a Model Planning Scheme/s and associated changes to the Victoria Planning Provisions, including streamlining of the State Planning Policy Framework and code assessment in appropriate areas.