A REGULATORY Impact Statement (RIS) has been prepared for the proposed Planning and Environment (Fees) Regulations 2016 and the proposed Subdivision (Fees) Regulations 2016, with submissions now being accepted until late June.
The proposed amendments to the Regulations contain changes to the fees for a number of services provided by local councils and the Minister for Planning related to planning and subdivision.
Most of the planning fees currently in place were set in 2000 and many have remained unchanged, or have been increased on an ad-hoc basis to account for changes in CPI (the last increase occurred in 2009/10) and have been extended on an interim basis on a number of occasions.
The Minister for Planning commenced the review of the planning and subdivision fees in October 2015 and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning commissioned a study to identify the actual cost to councils for providing planning and subdivision services.
According to the Department, the study found that in most cases, costs are significantly higher than the current fees.
"While it is difficult to aggregate fees across all councils and across different types of fees, it is estimated that current fees only recover about 20-30 per cent of the actual costs to councils of providing planning and subdivision services," the Department said.
The proposed Regulations seek to increase the fees that can be charged by local councils (or other responsible planning authorities) for the services provided under the legislation to an appropriate level of cost recovery.
The Department said that while the proposed new fees are aimed at recovering a greater percentage of costs from those making applications, some categories of fees have been set below the estimated costs in order to achieve fairness or other policy objectives.
In addition to the proposed fee increases, it is also proposed that the new fees be converted to fee units and be subject to annual indexation according to the value of fee units set by the Treasurer under the Monetary Units Act 2004.
More information, including a summary of the proposed new fees, is available from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website at <http://www.dtpli.vic.gov.au/planning/about-planning/legislation-and-regulations/review-of-planning-and-subdivision-fees>.