• VCAT

August 1, 2018

What the new planning reforms mean

There have been a number of changes to the Victoria Planning Provisions in the hopes it will simplify and modernise the planning system.

Amendment VC148 announced on July 31 aims to make the planning process more efficient, accessible and transparent.

The changes are expected to provide greater consistency and make the planning system easier to navigate. But understanding all the different changes and what they mean in practical terms can be confusing.

The amendment is largely a reorganisation and integration of already established planning policies and provisions rather than an extensive change. It deletes the State Planning Policy Framework (SPPF) and replaces it with a new integrated Planning Policy Framework (PPF)

Here are some of the most important changes to note.  

Vic Smart Streamlined

The amendment integrates Local Vic Smart applications and the State and Local Vic Smart information requirements and decision guidelines in a new Clause 59 – Vic Smart applications and requirements. 

However the number and type of development and works that are eligible for Vic Smart remains the same. As well as the process for lodging and assessing Vic Smart applications.

New Car Parking Exemption

A planning permit is no longer needed to reduce the required number of car parking spaces for new businesses wanting to operate in an existing building.
This is provided the following requirements are met:

  • The building is in the Commercial 1 Zone, Commercial 2 Zone or Activity  Centre Zone.
  •  The gross floor area of the building is not increased.
  • The reduction does not exceed 10 car parking spaces.
  • The building is not in a Parking Overlay with a schedule that allows a financial contribution to be paid in lieu of the provision of the required car parking spaces for the use.

This permit exemption will help people who are starting up new businesses in established commercial areas avoid the cost and time of applying for a reduction in car parking.

Reduced Car Parking Rates

The amendment will also apply reduced car parking rates for places that are close to high quality public transport links.

Any land identified as (wholly or partly) within 400 metres of the Principal Public Transport Network (PPTN) will have the car parking rates outlined in Column B of Table 1, Clause 52.06 of the planning scheme automatically applied.

To find out if your land is affected use the PPTN mapping tool.

Small Business Deregulation

Small businesses in certain industrial zones will no longer require a permit
The following businesses are now exempt:

  • Convenience shop – Industrial 1 Zone.
  • Take away food premises – Industrial 1 Zone and Industrial 3 Zone.
  •  Service industry – Industrial 3 Zone (subject to conditions specified in the table of uses).

You can find out more about this amendment and all of the new changes on the Victoria State Planning website.