Over the past few months we have seen the Victorian Government shift their approach to the planning system. We are now seeing the planning system become more of an economic stimulus tool and not just a regulatory one. As it should be.
The Victorian Government has also established a taskforce that has been charged with the responsibility of cutting ‘red tape’ and facilitating major developments that meet certain criteria. Recent amendments to legislation has allowed planning application material to be made available online avoiding any doubt about whether applications can continue to be processed where public notice is required. Other changes have also been made to enable decisions to be made at Council meetings where physical attendance is not possible and planning officers do not have delegation. As a result we note that there are no ‘red lights’ across Victoria as illustrated in the image below.
The Human Habitats team have the privilege of working with clients across all metropolitan and most regional Councils in Victoria. While most Councils have shown leadership by making adjustments to their planning teams and processes, we believe that further improvements can be made.
We call on all planning authorities to:
- Continue with pre-application meetings which are a critical part of the process for many projects
- Enable electronic lodgement and processing of applications
- Consider avoiding formal requests for information that cause delays
- Seek to maintain the minimum 14 day advertising period
- Continue to facilitate decisions being made at Council meetings or by changing delegated powers
The planning and development industry will be critical to the Victoria economic recovery in the months and years ahead. Congratulations to the Victorian Government and those planning authorities that are being part of the solution.