Changes to the planning scheme are called amendments and the process is set out in the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (the Act). An amendment may involve a change to a planning scheme map (for example: a rezoning), a change to the written part of the scheme, or both.

Councils can prepare amendments to their planning schemes to achieve a planning outcome or to support a new policy direction. For example, if a council wanted to protect the character of a residential area that demonstrated heritage significance it would amend the scheme to introduce a Heritage Overlay to the area.

Amendments to a scheme can have significant planning implications and affect the wider community because they change the way land can be used or developed. They can also change the basis for making planning decisions in the future.

About planning scheme amendments

Find general information below about amendments including who can amend the planning scheme and how to find out what current amendments are proposed.

Before an amendment can be prepared it must be authorised by the Minister for Planning.

An amendment to the scheme involves consultation with all the parties who may have an interest in the amendment, or may be affected by it. Usually, an amendment is placed on public exhibition for at least one month.

If there are submissions which cannot be resolved by the planning authority, the Minister for Planning will appoint an independent panel to consider submissions. When it receives the report from the panel, the planning authority must adopt the amendment, abandon the amendment or adopt the amendment with changes.

An amendment becomes part of the planning scheme when it is approved by the Minister and notice is given in the Victoria Government Gazette. A combined permit and amendment process is available if both are required.

Read more information about the amendment process in Chapter 2: Amendments of Using Victoria's Planning System

An amendment can be prepared by any planning authority as specified by the Act.

A planning authority is a minister or agency that has been authorised by the Minister for Planning to prepare amendments. In most cases, the initiating planning authority is a local council, but it may be another minister or government agency. Sections 8, 8A, 8B and 9 of the Act set out who is authorised as a planning authority to prepare an amendment.

Anyone can ask a planning authority (usually the council) to prepare an amendment, but you must be able to demonstrate adequate justification for it. The planning authority will have to be certain that the amendment has planning merit and is consistent with the future strategic directions for the municipality.

The department's Planning Practice Note 46 – Strategic Assessment Guidelines for Planning Scheme Amendments (PDF, 245.1 KB) sets out the matters council should consider before amending its planning scheme.

Amendments can be a small change to one provision, major changes or map changes.

Planning schemes, amendments to planning schemes and the VPP can be inspected free of charge at the relevant Victorian local government offices and online.

Notice of public exhibition of amendments and approved amendments is published in the regular Victoria Government Gazette every Thursday, although special gazettes may be published on other days if necessary.

Amendments can be:

  • C amendments: changes to one planning scheme
  • GC amendments: changes to more than one planning scheme
  • VC amendments: changes to the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP) and planning schemes
  • V amendments: changes to the VPP only

In certain circumstances the Minister for Planning has the power to intervene on matters associated with planning scheme amendments.

The amendment process

Templates and guidance are provided below to assist planning authorities to prepare amendment documentation and undertake steps in the amendment process.

An individual can request an amendment to a planning scheme. Discuss your proposal with your council before you request an amendment.

Councils should contact the department's relevan regional office before making a request.

Councils must create amendment requests (including requests for ministerial amendments), using the department’s online Amendment Tracking System (ATS).

Councils can create a draft amendment in ATS prior to submitting the amendment to the Minister for Planning for authorisation. ATS will allocate a ‘C’ or ‘GC’ number to the draft amendment.

Tools and information:

More information and guidelines for processing a planning scheme amendment

A council or planning authority must obtain the Minister for Planning's authorisation to prepare an amendment. The Minister can authorise a council, any other minister or public authority to prepare an amendment.

Councils must submit all authorisation requests using the department’s online Amendment Tracking System (ATS).

Tools and information:

More information and guidelines for processing a planning scheme amendment

This stage occurs once the amendment has been authorised. It covers the preliminary investigation, strategic assessment, consultation with relevant parties - including the department's regional office - and the preparation of the amendment documentation.

The planning authority must lodge exhibition documentation with the department no less than 10 business days before it first gives public notice using the department’s online Amendment Tracking System (ATS). It must also pre-set panel hearing dates at least 25 days prior to notice of exhibition being given using ATS.

The planning authority must arrange publication of the notice of the preparation in the Government Gazette.

Tools and information:

More information and guidelines for processing a planning scheme amendment

The amendment will be made available to view publicly at the time of gazettal. During this time the community can make submissions to the planning authority (usually the council) about the proposal.

The department publishes exhibited amendments at Planning documents on exhibition.

Tools and information:

This stage covers making submissions and the consideration of submissions by an independent panel.

Tools and information:

Submissions and the panel report are considered and the decision to adopt or abandon the amendment is made.

Tools and information:

More information and guidelines for processing a planning scheme amendment

The amendment is submitted to the Minister for Planning for approval and the minister's consideration and decision.

Planning authorities must submit documents for approval electronically with the department using the department's online Amendment Tracking System (ATS).

Notice of the approval is published in the Victoria Government Gazette

Tools and information:

More information and guidelines for processing a planning scheme amendment