In January 2022 the state government introduced a new statewide ‘Transport Zone’ to planning schemes which you can read about here.
Following this, on the 17th February 2022, the government introduced a new statewide planning provision. Clause 53.21 introduces exemptions for transport projects from planning permit requirements. The provision is specific to applications made by Transport Victoria and replaces councils as the decision maker with the Minister for Planning. The amendment was prepared by the Minister for Planning and also removes any third party appeal rights and public notification requirements for the applications.
The purpose of the amendment is clearly to fast track planning approval for essential state infrastructure projects earmarked by Transport Victoria to be built. Infrastructure development has been a mainstay of both the Labour and Liberal governments in recent years in Victoria and given 2022 is an election year, this amendment is expected to lead to the announcement of more major road and rail projects in the lead up to the election.