What's in the assessment guideline?

The Clause 52.30 Assessment Guideline provides a framework for preparing and evaluating a proposed State Project.

This guide can be used by proponents and Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) assessors to assist with the planning assessment and approval process.

An application submitted to DELWP should comprehensively inform the Minister for Planning about the project. It should ensure that all relevant information is provided about the background, context, requirements and approvals being sought.

The process comprises four steps:

Step 1 – Pre-application
Step 2 – Obtain State project status
Step 3 – Project application
Step 4 – Document approval

Assessment and approval timeframe

A decision will be generally reached within 6-8 weeks from application lodgement.

Note: This timeframe does not reflect the time taken for the applicant/proponent to provide any further information.

Assessment Guide process steps and timeframe (indicative)

Short diagram of steps in the assessment process and timeframes - Pre-application; Decision on State Project status 1-2 weeks; Conclusion with decision up to 8 weeks

Project proposal document requirements

  • Documents are to be provided in accessible electronic formats (MS Word where possible) suitable for publishing on the internet. Accessible electronic requirements include:
    • small file size (10MB limit)
    • suitable for screen reader and those with colour blindness.
  • No hard copies will be required, unless specifically requested.
  • A high standard of legibility is expected, including for diagrams and maps.
  • Principles of writing in plain English are to be applied in preparing the project proposal.

Clause 52.30 Assessment Guide Process steps and checklist

This checklist may be used to prepare or review a Clause 52.30 application. See the Steps below.

Step  1 - Pre-application

Liaise with DELWP (State Facilitation)

1. Initial contact made:

2. Establish a project discussion about the approval pathway requirements and consideration of project facilitation to assess the application and for the Minister for Planning to consider.

Be prepared to confirm State Project qualification concerning:

  • Delivery of projects by or on behalf of, or jointly or in partnership with, or funded by the State of Victoria or a public authority, or on Crown land.
  • Delivery proponent to demonstrate the projects ability to be delivered by (or have commenced construction before) 2025 - in support of Victoria’s economic recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Provide high-level information such as:

  • Proponent /Applicant department or agency (and the relevant contact details)
  • Project name and address
  • Municipality(s)
  • Project delivery method – is it public, private, or a public-private partnership
  • Type of project – which may include a short description
  • Current Stage of the project
  • Why is the approval process proposed/required?
  • Delivery timeframes.

3. Email associated documents to the State Projects team.

4. DELWP will establish contact within 24 hours/1 business day to discuss the project planning requirements and arrange the way forward.

Pre-application project briefing meeting

The purpose of the pre-application meeting is to present the detail of the project and discuss with DELWP officers the project planning issues and requirements.

Initial information should be provided 2 business days before any meeting to ensure relevant DELWP staff in attendance can be prepared.

The information to be provided before or during the meeting should include:

Information to provide What it should include
Proposed project use and development and project area. Indicative development plans, images, maps and aerials to assist.
Initial planning review to indicate permit triggers and the application content. Indicate where the project is consistent/inconsistent with any planning provisions in the planning scheme for the site.
Consultation to date and proposed about the project and the approval process. Identify the key stakeholders and community. (This information will inform discussions about the extent of consultation the Minister may deem necessary for the project)
Extent of environmental impacts and sensitivities. In terms of impact to: 

- native vegetation and other tree/ vegetation removal
- biodiversity
- flora and fauna
- waterways
- catchments
- coastal
- soils
- bushfire and other considerations.

Detail the proposed areas of protection/avoidance.
The public realm, amenity impacts and improvements. In terms of impact to the:

- built form
- character
- shadowing
- wind
- visual
- noise
- or others
Other legislative requirements or tools to be used as part of the project. Examples:

- Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)
- Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988
- Heritage Act 2017
- Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006
- Marine and Coastal Act 2018.
Public or private land required for temporary or permanent acquisition. What is the method for occupation or acquisition?

All presentation material from meeting(s) is to be distributed to DELWP.

Before application lodgement

Acquire confirmation between the proponent and DELWP of the:

  1. State project eligibility documentation to be submitted
  2. Confirmation of consultation required
  3. Application documentation and timing for the submission.

Step 2 - Obtain State Project Status

State Project status may be sought before the submission of other application requirements prescribed by clause 52.30 to confirm the approval pathway process.

52.30-2  State project decision

Provide information that addresses the matters that the Minister must be satisfied with within clause 52.30-2 that the proposed use or development of land is a state project.

This could be in the form of a letter or report that provides details and supporting documentation to demonstrate how the project meets one or more of the criteria listed at 52.30-2.

The supporting documentation may include:

  1. Description of the proposal
  2. The extent of the project area
  3. Concept plans or detailed plans, visualisations, landscape plans, or other material used to provide detail of the development.
  4. Land titles and ownership
  5. Government media releases
  6. Details of funding
  7. Project delivery timeline
  8. Letters from the Council or other relevant stakeholders
  9. A statement confirming constancy with the listed plans and policies identified under this clause and may require support from the relevant council or agency
  10. Proponent statement confirming self-assessment of the project and that no Environmental Effects Statement or referral is required under the Environment Effects Act 1978. Or confirming the decision by the Minister for Planning that no EES is required subject to conditions and that the proponent is undertaking the necessary step to satisfy the conditions
  11. Detail the environmental, social and economic effects of the use and development to assist the Minister for Planning considerations.

The request is lodged via email

DELWP will provide the proponent with written confirmation of State Project status for consideration under this provision.

Step 3 – Project Application

The application should be a comprehensive package of documentation to satisfy clause 52.30.

The responses should be concise and address the requirements.

A response against each requirement of the clause is not always necessary. If any of the requirements are not relevant to the project, provide a brief reason why.

Each required document will be assessed by DELWP against the requirements of the provision and must be to a standard and content to the satisfaction of the Minister for Planning.

The application documentation will be reviewed and a request for further information may be issued.

Once further information is satisfied the project approval assessment will be completed.


52.30-1  Application

An application must only be made for a proposed use or development of land determined by the Minister for Planning to be a state project.

52.30-2  State project decision

An application includes the decision or seeks decision along with the application, as detailed in Step 2.

52.30-3  Exemption from planning scheme requirements

The requirements of the planning scheme do not apply to the use or development of land determined by the Minister for Planning to be a State Project unless specified otherwise if the requirements of 52.30 are met.

This does not exempt the project from any requirements in the planning scheme that the Minister may consider are relevant.

52.30-4  Use and development requirements

The use and development of land must be carried out generally following the plans and documents approved under clause 52.30, to the satisfaction of the Minister for Planning.

52.30-5  Consultation requirements

Consultation with a range of stakeholders and community engagement is an important part of any State Project.

As notice and review requirements do not apply to the planning process for applicable state projects, it is expected that the proponent must undertake extensive consultation before commencement.

The consultation/engagement process be undertaken by the proponent. The Engage Victoria website provides consultation services for state projects.

The extent of consultation must be discussed and confirmed during pre-application.

The level and extent of consultation should reflect the scale and level of impacts of the development.

Additional consultation may be required or directed by the Minister.

The Minister may also directly seek the views of any party, where considered relevant.

Public authorities that must be consulted include those that are specified as a referral authority in the planning scheme. Any relevant referral authority advice about the proposed use or development must be provided as part of the application.

The application must address advice provided by a Determining Authority, and should address advice by a Recommending Authority. This is to be detailed in the consultation report and as part of the application documentation.

The advice should be provided in its original form (letter /email).

The Minister may also directly seek the views of the referral authority.

Consultation is often an ongoing process through the life of the project and the consultation undertaken must be summarized into a report.

The report should detail the public consultation and include the:

Consultation - Methodology

The who, how, when, why, and what will be done as part of the project consultation process.

Who are the relevant consultation groups?

For example:

  • Council(s)
  • Community groups
  • Agencies
  • Residents/occupiers
  • Landowners
What type of consultation?

The consultation needs to reach the targeted audience and provide a range of opportunities to participate. The project impacts may create significant public interest. If so, how will the community be adequately informed about the impacts?

When the consultation occurred or will occur?

This may include stages of the consultation activities, to date and proposed in the future, as the project unfolds.

Why or reasons for the extent of distribution or targeted consultation

May be assisted by maps of the distribution area.

What detail was distributed during the consultation process?

This should include project detail about the:

  • the extent of the project area
  • concept plans or detailed plans, visualisations, landscape plans, or other material used to provide detail of the development
  • vegetation/tree and biodiversity/environmental impacts or protections
  • potential impacts
  • planning approval process
  • description, and representative samples, of material distributed to the community and stakeholders.
How was the feedback sought?

Include details of feedback tools, i.e. surveys, submissions, workshops etc.

How the feedback was collated, managed and considered in the project response.

At the time approval is sought for the consultation requirement there will be further stages of consultation associated with the detailed design and construction phases of the project. These should also be identified and detailed in the consultation report.

Provide detail about the:

  • number of submissions received
  • description of matters raised by submitters and how they have been considered
  • responses to matters raised, including any resultant changes to design or construction methodology
  • response to the council’s submission/concerns
  • response to referral authority advice
  • detail of any response provided back to submitter/stakeholder.

The consultation requirements may be varied or waived by the Minister for Planning.

52.30-6  Other pre-commencement requirements

The type and scale of the State Project will determine the level of detail needed in planning application documents and supporting information required.

The level of justification for each consideration and the project overall should be proportional to the impact of the project. The responses should be concise and relevant considerations need to be addressed.

A detailed response against each part of this clause is not always necessary. If any of the requirements are not relevant to the project, provide a brief reason why.

The project proposal application is to be submitted to the Minister for Planning in the form and content set out below.

This should be a comprehensive package. Some components of the development may also be submitted for separate approval at different stages of the project. Some background information may have been already been provided as part of the State Project decision.

Required documentation is listed below:

A plan that shows the boundary of the land on which the use or development will be carried out. For some projects additional land is necessary for temporary or permanent occupation.

A site description and analysis plan that provides existing context detail. This may include both visual and written information.

The type and scale of project will determine the extent and level of detail provided about the strategic, precinct and interface context for the project.

Detail should include:

  • Use
  • Hours of operation
  • The likely effects, if any, on the land and surrounding land and uses (e.g. noise, light spill, shadowing, vibration)
  • In some instances, detailed plans may not be necessary. Concept plans may provide sufficient detail about the project from a planning perspective rather than detailed engineering drawings.
  • Renders and /or photomontages should be provided to assist with visualizing the built form outcome for the project.
  • It is also important to consider and represent any off-site amenity impacts the project may cause, i.e. shadow, visual bulk, overlooking etc.
  • The project may benefit from a process of design review, i.e. The Office of Victorian Government Architect (OVGA) review or project design panel. The OVGA can assist in providing independent design assessments for all stages or specific stages of the project. There is no charge for this service for State government projects.
  • Tree and vegetation removals, Tree Protection Zone (TPZ) encroachment or `no-go protection’ areas should be identified.
  • A summary of the policy and strategic planning context of the declared project, including any underpinning plans or studies.
  • Addresses how the proposed use or development responds to purposes, objectives, or statements of significance or risk of any zone, overlay, or other provision that would apply but for the planning exemptions. Detail the existing relevant planning controls and permit triggers and how the project has considered and responded to them. This can often be presented in a simple table format.
Control/ Provision requirementUse/ developmentProponent Response
  • Specify the relevant referral authorities from clause 66 of the planning scheme and if they have been provided with a copy of the application. This will be also detailed in the consultation requirement.

A report that details how each no EES required condition has been considered and addressed in the design, construction and operation of the proposed development.

A copy of any report, plan or other document required to be prepared under those conditions.

DELWP and the proponent will work together to ensure conditions are satisfied and considered in relation to the project approval.

Plans may be required for the management or mitigation of potential adverse effects or impacts on the environment or amenity from the proposed use or development, during and following construction.

These may be necessary due to the planning framework or type of project.

The type of plans may include:

  • Environmental Management Framework
  • Construction Environment Management Plan
  • Flora and Fauna Management Plan
  • Urban Design Guidelines or Statement
  • Visual Impact
  • Details of the stages of the project and schedule of works. This may also outline the anticipated application submission timeframes.
  • In some instances, the project can be approved in stages which may allow preliminary works.

The Minister for Planning may consider additional information necessary to assist the assessment of the proposed use or development or the plans and documents required to be prepared under this clause.

Urban Design and Public Spaces Framework or Statement
  • The positive and negative impacts on the public realm.
  • Where relevant, urban design principles should guide the project.
  • In some instances, as part of later stages of the project, stakeholder or community input may be sought into the public realm outcomes or the project might go through a design review process. Landscape concept plans and integration into the existing area is an important consideration with way finding and pedestrian/bicycle access where appropriate.
Tree, vegetation and biodiversity assessment reports
  • The extent of vegetation, including native vegetation, and/or tree impacts (removals or greater than Tree Protection Zone 10%) will be identified on the detailed plans. Supporting documentation may be required, like an arborist report, flora and fauna assessment or targeted threatened species survey. It is understood that projects will have impacts on the environment which may be unavoidable, however, the potential impacts must be known, and avoidance and mitigation measures have been demonstrated before approval is sought or given.
  • Vegetation or trees could be identified through a permit trigger via clause 52.17, overlays, or street trees or other community or council identified significant or landscape amenity trees.
Heritage

In some instances, there may be a heritage permit trigger, but the heritage place /significance will remain unaffected by the proposal. This should be detailed to determine if a Heritage Impact Statement is required

If a Cultural Heritage Management Plan is required or one is being prepared voluntarily, then its status and any conditions may require consideration in the proposal.

Contamination

Potential contamination should be identified and in most instances the matter should be referred to the Environment Protection Authority where relevant. Consult the Potentially Contaminated Land Practice Note for further guidance.

52.30-7  Native vegetation requirements

The extent of native vegetation to be removed for the project should be known before this application being lodged (that is, during the pre-application stage and other pre-commencement requirements).

The application should provide:

  • Information about the native vegetation to be removed per the Guidelines for removal, destruction or lopping of native vegetation (DELWP, 2017)
  • What is the extent of proposed native vegetation removal?
    Refer to Ecological Vegetation Class, conservation status, extent of patches, size and number of large and scattered trees and species identified.
    Include maps to show the location and extent.
  • How have impacts been minimised?
  • What is the offset requirement? Is it able to be secured?

Step 4 – Document Approval

Once all project assessment is complete some of the documentation will be approved either by the Minister, or if appropriate under delegation.

The approval confirmation may be via a letter and or stamped/ endorsed documents.

Page last updated: 31/05/21