Planning Scheme Amendments

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What is a planning scheme amendment?
Sometimes a planning scheme may need to be changed to reflect new circumstances. Changes to the scheme are known as amendments and the process for an amendment is set out in the Planning and Environment Act 1987(the Act). An amendment may involve a change to a planning scheme map (often a rezoning) or a change to the ordinance (written part of the scheme) or both.

Sometimes a planning scheme may need to be changed to reflect new circumstances. Changes to the scheme are known as amendments and the process for an amendment is set out in the (the Act). An amendment may involve a change to a planning scheme map (often a rezoning) or a change to the ordinance (written part of the scheme) or both.

The amendment process
Anyone can ask a planning authority to prepare an amendment. A proponent must be able to demonstrate to the planning authority (usually the council) adequate justification as to why an amendment should be prepared.

Before an amendment can be prepared, it must be authorised by the Minister for Planning. The Minister may also authorise a planning authority to approve an amendment after certification by the Secretary, DPCD.

Usually, an amendment is placed on public exhibition for at least one month. If there are submissions which cannot be resolved by the planning authority, the Minister for Planning will appoint an independent panel to consider submissions if the proposed amendment is to proceed. When it receives the report from the panel, the planning authority must either adopt or abandon the amendment.

An amendment becomes part of the planning scheme when it is approved by the Minister and notice is given in the Victorian Government Gazette. In instances where both a permit and an amendment are required, the Act makes provision for a combined permit and amendment process. For more information about the amendment process go to Process guide and Using Victoria's Planning System.

Who can prepare or amend a planning scheme?
An amendment may be prepared by any planning authority as specified by the Act. A planning authority is any Minister or agency that has been authorised by the Minister for Planning to prepare amendments. In most cases the initiating planning authority would be a municipal council, but it may be another Minister. Sections 8, 8A, 9, 10 and 11 of the Act set out who may be authorised as a planning authority to prepare and approve an amendment. There is wide scope for scheme amendments, which may consist of a small change to one provision, or major changes or a substitution. Steps for preparing an amendment are set out in detail in the Act. For links to more information, see 'Preparation' in Process guide and Using Victoria's Planning System.

Amendments to the Victoria Planning Provisions
An amendment to the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP)will also amend specified planning schemes which include those provisions. When the VPP amendment is approved, the schemes are amended at the same time.

Viewing and obtaining amendments
Planning schemes, amendments to planning schemes and the VPP may be inspected free of charge at the relevant Victorian local government offices, and the Department's website. The Documents for inspection page lists amendments currently on exhibition, recently approved amendments and the Department's contact details.