Planning changes designed to cut red tape and allow for faster and more effective decision making by imposing twelve month time limits on planning scheme amendment decisions have been welcomed by the building and construction industry in Victoria.
Housing Industry Association Victoria Executive Director Gil King has applauded the new measures, saying they will deliver greater certainty, reduce the burden on landowners and the construction industry and improve housing affordability.
“These reforms are positive indications that the Victorian Government is serious about improving planning processes and reducing the regulatory burden on the housing industry” King says.
“This can only assist in improving housing affordability”.
Approved by the state government on September 27, Ministerial Direction No. 15 will set an overall decision making time limit for planning scheme amendments – changes or proposed changes to planning schemes which set out key land use policies and rules across different municipalities throughout the state – to twelve months.
Even shorter limits (nine months) will apply to amendments without a planning panel.
In addition to overall deadlines, individual time limits will apply at both a local and state level to key steps in the decision making process.
King says clearly defined timelines regarding planning scheme amendments have long been sought by the industry.
At the moment, he says, even small changes can take well over a year, often with little apparent reason for the delay.
In addition to the new timeframes, the map of planning zones throughout the states is also being redrawn in order to see nine existing zones merged into five as well as amendments to twelve other zones.
Also, the government is undergoing a two year process to prepare a new metropolitan planning strategy for Melbourne.
Describing the current planning scheme amendment process as a ‘hindrance’ to applicants and councils alike, State Planning Minister Matthey Guy says the entire planning system has been weighed down by delays in this area over the last decade.
He says the new time limits will help to unclog an unnecessary burden on Victoria’s economy.