Victoria

VicSmart assessment system to commence in September

VICTORIAN Planning Minister Matthew Guy last week said the new VicSmart system will commence in September, which will introduce a new streamlined assessment process for straightforward planning permit applications that will allow some permits to be issued in 10 days.

Mr Guy said the announcement of the VicSmart commencement date will provide local councils with sufficient time to implement the new fast track permit and make the necessary changes to their processes. The transition period will include further consultation with councils and industry groups, including information sessions in July and August.

"VicSmart is a quick and simple process that satisfies both a council's need for policy certainty and an applicant's desire for a fast outcome. If a permit application meets a set of clear cut rules and the council is happy that no more information is needed, then a permit can be issued within 10 working days," the Minister said.

"The fast tracking of around 8,500 smaller permit applications a year will free up huge amounts of time, energy and resources for council planning departments, allowing them to focus on permits that require greater analysis.

"Victoria already has the most efficient planning system in the country and, as we finalise the remaining items of our planning reform agenda, we are ensuring we stay at the top."

Applications under the new VicSmart system will include: realigning a common land boundary and other minor subdivisions, constructing or extending front fences, certain sign displays, car space changes, minor building and works in heritage areas and buildings and works up to $50,000 in business and industrial areas.

VicSmart will allow council officers to make final decisions on minor planning applications, while streamlined processes will also be introduced at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and Melbourne Water.

Five new clauses in the Victoria Planning Provisions and planning schemes will detail the VicSmart planning assessment process and the classes of application. More information is available from the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure website at <http://www.dtpli.vic.gov.au/vicsmart>.

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