Amendment VC194 (Amendment) was gazetted by the Minister for Planning earlier this week. The Amendment inserts two new particular provisions at clauses 52.30 (State projects) and 52.31 (Local government projects) into the VIC Planning Provisions and all local planning schemes.

Fast track of state and local infrastructure projects

The new particular provisions provide planning permit exemptions and exemptions from notice and review requirements for state and local infrastructure projects, subject to specified conditions being met.

These changes are designed to fast-track the delivery of these key infrastructure projects, by significantly streamlining the planning approval process.

The Amendment will support Victoria’s Big Build.

Clause 52.30 – State Government Projects

For declared State Government projects, Clause 52.30 creates a more efficient and standardised planning and assessment process, by removing any requirement of a planning scheme to obtain a permit or any provision of a planning scheme that prohibits the use or development of land.

Such projects could include road, rail and tramway works; water, sewage and flood mitigation infrastructure; and police and other emergency services facilities, as well as both public and private use and development on Crown land.

Projects will require the approval of the Minister, rather than Council. The Minister may also waive the requirement for public consultation if deemed unnecessary.

Clause 52.31 – Local Government Projects

Clause 52.31-1 lists those local government projects which will be exempt from requiring a planning permit. Clause 52.31-2 lists those projects which still require a permit, but will be exempt from third party notice and review.

This change is designed to streamline planning requirements and processes by removing any requirement in a zone or a schedule to a zone, to obtain a permit to construct a building or carry out works by or on behalf of a municipal council. In turn, this will enable local government authorities to upgrade parks, create new sporting and community facilities, and undertake a streamlined process in building libraries and town halls.

What is the eligibility criteria?

To be eligible for the fast track provisions, the project must:

  • be a use or development being carried out on behalf of the State of Victoria, a public authority, or carried out on Crown land; and
  • support Victoria’s economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19.

The project should also meet the following criteria (if applicable to the subject land):

  • be consistent with any Great Ocean Road strategic framework plan, Statement of Planning Policy or Yarra Strategic Plan applying to the land; or
  • not require an environment effects statement by the Environment Effects Act 1978; or
  • be consistent with any other regional strategy plans; or
  • not subdivide green wedge land into more lots or smaller lots than allowed under the planning scheme.

Further clarification is required to determine whether public / private partnerships (i.e. a private developer who partners with the State Government to deliver affordable housing) constitutes an eligible project. We will provide a further update, as this information becomes available.