AS part of its Smart Planning program, the Victorian Government has released a new discussion paper that outlines proposed changes to help simplify and improve the operation of the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP) and provide the foundations for further future transformative initiatives.
The 'Reforming the Victoria Planning Provisions' discussion paper focuses on the structure and operation of the VPP. It acknowledges that increasing demands on the planning system and successive reforms have resulted in planning schemes that have grown considerably in size and complexity.
"The growth in complexity of planning schemes not only affects their efficiency and effectiveness, it also acts as a barrier to long-term change and the benefits that technology can deliver through more responsive and accessible planning services," the discussion paper says.
According to the paper, any updated planning provisions should reflect the principles of a modern planning scheme: digital first; user focused; consistent; proportional; land use focused; and policy and outcome focused.
In response to these principles, the proposed changes seek to significantly simplify and realign the structure of the VPP, while not fundamentally changing the basic operation of planning schemes.
The paper is divided into five proposals:
Proposal 1: A simpler VPP structure with VicSmart assessment built in
- Proposal 1.1: Restructure and reform the particular provisions;
- Proposal 1.2: Integrate VicSmart into appropriate particular provisions and overlay schedules; and
- Proposal 1.3: Consolidate all administrative provisions.
Proposal 2: An integrated planning policy framework
- Proposal 2.1: Integrate state, regional and local planning policy;
- Proposal 2.2: Simplify the Municipal Strategic Statement;
- Proposal 2.3: Expand policy themes;
- Proposal 2.4: Create a clearer and simpler structure for policy making; and
- Proposal 2.5: Set new rules and guidelines for writing policy.
Proposal 3: Assessment pathways for simple proposals
- Proposal 3.1: Embed a VicSmart assessment pathway in appropriate particular provisions and overlay schedules; and
- Proposal 3.2: Introduce new code-based assessment provisions for simple proposals to support small business, industry and homeowners.
Proposal 4: Smarter planning scheme drafting
- Proposal 4.1: Create a new VPP user manual;
- Proposal 4.2: Establish a business unit dedicated to VPP and planning scheme amendment drafting; and
- Proposal 4.3: Create an online Victorian planning library.
Proposal 5: Improve specific provisions
- Proposal 5.1: Improvements to specific provisions;
- Proposal 5.2: Update the Definitions section of the VPP; and
- Proposal 5.3: Regularly review and monitor the VPP.
More information is available from the Victorian Government's 'Engage Victoria' website at <https://engage.vic.gov.au/reform-victoria-planning-provisions>. The consultation period ends on 24 November 2017, with a proposed gazettal date of mid-2018.