If you want to learn more about planning documents and what their role is within the planning system, see [Your guide to planning system documents].

What are some examples of the planning system in action?

If you are new to planning some simple case studies will help introduce you to the topic.

*Many types of planning permit applications are required to be advertised for members of the public to make comments in a submission, in the form of a written statement explaining their views about the application and how they may be affected if a permit is granted. Certain people will also be directly notified that an application has been made, for example if the development is occurring next to their house.
*If you know about a planning permit application and would like to comment on it, you can call your local council’s planning department and ask how to make a comment.
*You can check what planning permit applications are being advertised in person at the relevant council office for the municipality where the development is proposed. Most councils also advertise planning permit applications on their website.
*While the planning permit application is being advertised, if you feel you are affected by the proposal you can make a submission. A submission may be made in support of the development or if you have a valid concern you may object.
*Submissions should be lodged by the date shown on the Notice of application, usually within a 14-day notice period.
*If you make a submission, you will be notified when a decision is made on the application. If a decision is made on an application that you disagree with, you may be able to appeal to VCAT for a review of the council’s decision.
*Note that not all planning permit applications are required to be advertised. Notice requirements vary across different development types and locations.
*The person applying for the permit also has the opportunity to appeal at VCAT against any decision or conditions the council places on their permit. They can also appeal if the council fails to make a decision within a specified period of time.
*More information about how to make a submission and how it should be written is provided on the Planning Victoria website.

*Heritage Victoria has a tool here to find out whether a property is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register , the Victorian Heritage Inventory or is affected by a Heritage Overlay in a planning scheme.
*If you would like to search via H number, please use Vicplan.
*In the planning system, a Heritage Overlay can be applied to places with identified heritage significance.
*In Victoria there are different levels of protection for places that have different levels of heritage significance. Places that are of state or national heritage significance, or archaeological sites, may have additional or different protections and may not necessarily have the Heritage Overlay applied.
*Heritage places and objects of ‘State-level cultural heritage significance’ are included in the Victorian Heritage Register and may be included in the Heritage Overlay.
*The Victorian Heritage Inventory is a list of known historical archaeological sites in the State. Sites can be included in both the Victorian Heritage Register and the Victorian Heritage Inventory.
*Local heritage places are identified with the Heritage Overlay.

*A planning property report identifies planning zones and overlays that apply to a property. It can also give other information including utilities information, electorates, whether your property is on the Victorian Heritage Register and if there is a Registered Aboriginal Party for the location.
*Planning property reports are available from VicPlan.
*There is no fee required to get a planning property report.
*To get the report, go to VicPlan, type in an address and click the report button in the panel on the left.

*Planning schemes can only be changed through a planning scheme amendment. More information about the process is available on the Planning Victoria website.
*Local councils can change the planning scheme for their municipality through an amendment. This includes applying an overlay to land, changing the zone that applies to land, updating local planning policy and changing certain requirements in their planning scheme. A council must ask the Minister for Planning to authorise an amendment before it can go ahead.
*The Minister for Planning can also change a planning scheme.
*Anyone can request that a council amends a planning scheme, but the council does not have to make this change.
*Most amendments are put on exhibition. This involves documentation for the amendment being displayed on the Planning Victoria website and also often on the relevant council’s website. During this time the community can make written submissions to the planning authority (usually the council, the authority that is making the amendment) about the amendment proposal.
*Some people will be notified about the exhibition on the amendment, including owners and occupiers of land that may be materially affected by the amendment.
*If you would like to comment on a planning scheme amendment, you can call your local council’s planning department and ask how you can comment the application.
*The council will assess submissions and make changes to the amendment as they see fit. If submissions cannot be resolved, the amendment may go to a planning panel. Planning panel are appointed by the Minister for Planning to hear submissions about amendments to planning schemes, and to make recommendations or provide advice about if the amendment should proceed.
*Planning panels usually involve a hearing and allow submitters to be heard in an informal, non-judicial manner. The panel will give expert advice about the amendment submissions. A panel is not a court and is not bound by legal rules of evidence. The panel’s recommendations are not binding but if a council does not adopt a panel recommendation, it must give reasons as to why.

Page last updated: 09/06/23