Changes to the planning scheme are called amendments and the process is set out in the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (the Act). An amendment may involve a change to a planning scheme map (for example: a rezoning), a change to the written part of the scheme, or both.
Amendments to a scheme can have significant planning implications and affect the wider community because they change the way land can be used or developed. They can also change the basis for making planning decisions in the future.
For more information about the amendment process see Chapter 2: Amendments - Using Victoria's Planning System
About planning scheme amendments
Find general information below about the amendment process including who can amend the planning scheme and how to find out what current amendments are proposed.
Before an amendment can be prepared it must be authorised by the Minister for Planning.
An amendment to the scheme involves consultation with all the parties who may have an interest in the amendment or may be affected by it. 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. When it receives the report from the panel, the planning authority must adopt the amendment, abandon the amendment or adopt the amendment with changes.
An amendment becomes part of the planning scheme when it is approved by the Minister and notice is published in the Victoria Government Gazette. A combined permit and amendment process is available if both are required.
An amendment can be prepared by any planning authority as specified by the Act.
A planning authority is a minister or agency that has been authorised by the Minister for Planning to prepare amendments. In most cases, the initiating planning authority is a local council, but it may be another minister or government agency. Sections 8, 8A, 8B and 9 of the Act set out who is authorised as a planning authority to prepare an amendment.
Anyone can ask a planning authority (usually the council) to prepare an amendment, but you must be able to demonstrate adequate justification for it. The planning authority will have to be certain that the amendment has planning merit and is consistent with the future strategic directions for the municipality.
The department's Planning Practice Note 46 – Strategic Assessment Guidelines for Planning Scheme Amendments (PDF, 332.3 KB) sets out the matters council should consider before amending its planning scheme.
There are four types of amendments:
- a ‘V’ amendment – makes changes to the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP) only
- a ‘VC’ amendment - makes changes to the VPP and one or more planning schemes
- a ‘C’ amendment – makes changes to one planning scheme only
- a ‘GC’ amendment – makes changes to more than one planning scheme.
A ‘C’ amendment can change a planning scheme in a number of ways, such as inserting, amending or deleting a local provision, inserting a new local provision, inserting or deleting a zone or overlay or amending a planning scheme map.
A ‘C’ amendment cannot change a State standard provision selected from the VPP. This can only be done by a ‘V’ or ‘VC’ amendment.
‘V’ and ‘VC’ amendments are prepared by the Minister for Planning.
A ‘GC’ amendment can be used to make changes to more than one planning scheme for a particular matter, such as a regional initiative.
The Amendment Process
Templates and guidance are provided below to assist planning authorities with preparing amendment documentation and Progressing through the amendment process.
An individual can request an amendment to a planning scheme. The request should be discussed with the relevant council.
Planning Authorities should contact the department's relevant regional office before submitting an amendment request.
Amendment requests (including ministerial and prescribed amendments), must be submitted using the department’s online Amendment Tracking System (ATS)
Planning Authorities can proceed with a request, by creating a draft amendment in ATS prior to submitting the amendment to the Minister for Planning (Minister).
When preparing an amendment planning authorities must have regard to Ministerial Direction No. 15 – the planning scheme amendment process which sets times for completing steps in the planning scheme amendment process.
More details about the set times are provided in the department’s Advisory note 48: Ministerial Direction No. 15 – the planning scheme amendment process (September 2012) and Practice note 77: Pre-setting panel hearing dates (July 2015).
A municipal council can only prepare an amendment if authorised to do so by the Minister under section 8A of the Act. The purpose of authorisation is to identify whether a proposed amendment is consistent with State policy or interests and ensure that it makes appropriate use of the VPP.
The Minister may also authorise another Minister or public authority to prepare an amendment under section 9 of the Act.
Planning authorities are encouraged to discuss a proposed amendment with the relevant department office prior to seeking authorisation. The department can provide advice about strategic issues relevant to the amendment and which planning provisions would best achieve the intent of the amendment. Early consultation with the department will also assist planning authorities in meeting the timeframes outlined in Ministerial Direction No. 15- the planning scheme amendment process.
What must be submitted to the Minister at authorisation?
Planning Authorities are required to submit their authorisation request via the department’s online Amendment Tracking System(ATS).
- Checklist for lodging an amendment for authorisation (DOCX, 74.5 KB)
- Templates for processing planning scheme amendment documents
For more information see the Department’s guide Using Victoria’s Planning System.
This stage occurs once the amendment has been authorised. It covers the preliminary investigation, strategic assessment, consultation with relevant parties - including the department's regional office - and the preparation of the amendment documentation.
If the amendment is given to the Minister under section 17(1)(c) of the Act, the planning authority must submit the exhibition documentation with the department using the Amendment Tracking System (ATS) no less than 10 business days before it first gives public notice . It must also pre-set panel hearing dates at least 25 days prior to notice of exhibition being given using ATS. This is to ensure that accurate information about the amendment is available when it is exhibited.
The planning authority must also arrange publication of the notice of the preparation in the Government Gazette. This can be done by contacting the Victorian Government Gazette Office.
What must be submitted to the Minister for Exhibition?
The Planning Authorities are required to submit their Exhibition via ATS
The department will make the amendment publicly available to view on it's ‘Browse Amendments' on the day the first notice is given. During this time the community can make submissions to the planning authority (usually the council) about the amendment proposal.
The department will also list the amendment on the 'Planning documents on Exhibition' web page.
Planning Authority considers all submissions and the panel report,and then decides whether to adopt or abandon the amendment.
After a planning authority has adopted an amendment, the amendment is then submitted to the Minister for Planning for consideration and decision.
What must be submitted to the Minister for consideration and decision?
The amendment must be submitted via the department’s online Amendment Tracking System (ATS) together with the prescribed information under section 31(1) of the Act (Refer to Regulation 10 of the Planning and Environment Regulations 2015 for a list of the prescribed information to be submitted for the Minister).
- Checklist for lodging an Exhibited amendment for Ministerial Approval (DOCX, 66.7 KB)
- Checklist for lodging a Ministerial or Prescribed amendment for Ministerial Approval (DOCX, 67.3 KB)
- Templates for processing planning scheme amendment documents
Page last updated: 15/08/22