Smart Planning has made a significant contribution to reform Victoria’s planning regulations and make the planning system more efficient, accessible and transparent. The Rules Reform stream of the program:

  • addressed inconsistent and contradictory planning controls
  • made planning regulation easier to understand and interpret
  • facilitated more effective and consistent decision making
  • reduced compliance and processing costs
  • reduced assessment times for some planning permit applications.

Rules reforms delivered as part of Stage 3

Secondary Dwelling Code

The Smart Planning program developed a code for secondary dwellings. The code sought to make it easier for a second small-scale dwelling to be built on the same lot as a principal dwelling, by streamlining the approvals process through the application of code requirements and the use of VicSmart.

The Secondary Dwelling Code was piloted in four pilot planning schemes - Merri-bek (Moreland), Murrindindi, Greater Bendigo and Kingston. The Secondary Dwelling Code pilot commenced in August 2020 and concluded in March 2021.

Learn more on the Secondary Dwelling Code

Planning Policy Framework (PPF) translation

The Smart Planning team has worked closely with local councils to translate their local policies and strategic narrative from the Local Planning Policy Framework and Municipal Strategic Statement to the new Planning Policy Framework.

More information on the Planning Policy Framework translation

View A Practitioner's Guide to Victorian Planning Schemes (PDF, 1.6 MB)

Specific Controls Overlay (SCO)

The Smart Planning team mapped the incorporated documents listed in Clause 51.01 – Specific Sites and Exclusions for transfer to the new Specific Controls Overlay (SCO) at Clause 45.12 to create greater transparency and certainty on where planning rules apply.

Local schedule updates

The local schedules of all planning schemes have been reviewed to identify and fix obvious and technical errors, and update references and names that were changed by amendments VC142 and VC148.

Removing these errors and inconsistencies will improve the readability and transparency of the planning scheme and make local content more compliant with the Ministerial Direction – Form and Content of Planning Schemes.

Updates to land use terms

In December 2017, the Minister for Planning appointed an Advisory Committee to review and recommend improvements to land use terms and their definitions in the VPP.

Following public consultation on the Land Use Terms Advisory Committee Discussion Paper, the Committee submitted a final report in May 2018. The Minister considered the Advisory Committee's report and approved Amendment VC159 in August 2019.

Rules reforms delivered as part of Stage 2

2 major reform packages were delivered as part of the changes to and the restructure of the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP). Amendment VC142 was gazetted on 16 January 2018 and amendment VC148 was gazetted on 31 July 2018.

The second amendment package implemented changes to the VPP and all planning schemes. The amendment added clarity to the schemes by removing unnecessary regulations and simplifying and improving the structure, function and operation of the VPP.

Changes implemented by Amendment VC148 included:

  • an integrated Planning Policy Framework
  • a simpler VPP structure with VicSmart built-in
  • improvements to the structure and operation of specific clauses
  • changes that support business by removing unnecessary regulation.

More information

Visit the Amendment VC148 page for more information on the changes, including:

  • a summary of changes
  • advisory notes
  • frequently asked questions
  • VC148 Clause Finder tool
  • contact information for specific questions.

The first amendment package was the first phase of reforms to Victorian planning schemes. The reforms addressed issues that were identified through previous consultation and reviews, tribunal decisions and other local government, industry and community input.

Changes implemented by VC142 included:

  • removal of redundant or excessive provisions and permit requirements for low impact matters
  • clarification of unclear provisions and removal or relocation of some administrative requirements to reduce the complexity of planning schemes
  • updated planning provisions to reflect the contemporary needs of business
  • use of contemporary land use terms and removal of out-of-date references to ensure planning schemes are current.

More information

Rules reforms delivered as part of Stage 1

Prior to the restructure of the Victoria Planning Provisions through amendment VC148, strategic issues of state importance were outlined in the State Planning Policy Framework (SPPF)

In 2017, Smart Planning simplified the SPPF by introducing an interim restructure to allow regionally specific policy to be tailored into planning schemes. This led to more than 3,000 pages being removed from planning schemes. Simplifying the SPPF was the first phase in the wider restructure of the VPP and planning schemes.

VicSmart is a 10-day fast-track planning permit assessment process for straightforward, low impact development proposals.

In 2017, Smart Planning expanded the types of planning permits eligible for assessment under VicSmart. New VicSmart permit classes were added and some existing ones were broadened. The number of permit applications that can now being processed through VicSmart has doubled. This change led to an increase in VicSmart applications from 7 per cent to 16 per cent  of all planning applications, making the planning system more proportionate and efficient.

Page last updated: 19/10/22