_Residential Zones Stage 1

Regular readers of Collie News will know that we have been monitoring closely the introduction of new residential zones across Victoria.  This week a series of ‘Stage 1’ reports prepared by the Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee (which was appointed by the Minister of Planning to advise on the method and application of the new zones) has been released to the public.

The reports include an individual report for each of the fourteen Councils that chose to participate in the review process as well as an ‘Overarching Issues Report’ which identifies and discusses issues and matters that were common across the individual reports.

A State Government response to the recommendations of the RZSAC Overarching Issues Report has also been released.

Of the fourteen draft amendments that it reviewed, the RZSAC has recommended that 10 of the amendments proceed (including nine with changes) and that four of the draft amendments not proceed.  The recommendations are summarised below.

Ararat Proceed with changes
Ballarat Proceed with changes
Boroondara Not proceed
Cardinia Proceed with changes
Darebin Proceed with changes
Greater Shepparton Proceed with changes
Kingston Not proceed
Latrobe Proceed with changes
Moonee Valley Not proceed
Moorabool Proceed with changes
Moreland Not proceed
Mornington Peninsula Proceed with changes
Southern Grampians Proceed with changes
Whittlesea Proceed without changes

The individual reports for each Council address local issues and include further specific findings and recommendations.

The Overarching Issues Report by the RZSAC is particularly interesting.  It includes six recommendations intended to address broader issues raised during the review process.  These include updating guidance material and addressing uncertainties and ambiguities associated with applying the new zones.

In our opinion, it is a well reasoned and very good report.

Encouragingly, the State Government response supports each of the recommendations.

The Overarching Issues Report also includes a set of 31 ‘principles’ that the RZSAC developed and applied during its review process.  A number of the principles directly support our own position and view in relation to how the new zones ought to be applied.

The principles include the following (with the ‘P’ below relating to the principle number).



The Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ) should not be used as the ‘default’ residential zone. ‘
P8 The application of the NRZ at the municipal level should not be driven by the 50 percent reference in Plan Melbourne or the percentages applied in other municipalities.
P12 The General Residential Zone (GRZ) will typically be the ‘default’ zone for the Residential 1 Zone.
P18 The Residential Growth Zone (RGZ) (or a zone other than one of the three new residential zones) should be applied to nominated or potential urban renewal precincts unless an alternative residential zone is specifically justified.
P19 The RGZ (or a zone other than one of the three new residential zones) is the primary zone for areas identified for significant housing change that are not constrained by ‘character’.
P22 Schedules should be avoided where they apply new benchmarks for residential development without adequate justification.
P23 Schedules should only be applied where there is a clearly defined need and it can be demonstrated that the provisions of Clause 54 and 55 are not adequate
P25 Existing overlays should be a factor when considering which zone to apply.  The overarching consideration is whether the overlay should be accompanied by a restrictive zone or whether the overlay provisions should be allowed to operate with a less restrictive zone. In many instances this should result in translating the Residential 1 Zone to a GRZ.
P26 The existence of the Heritage Overlay does not automatically justify applying the NRZ
P29 The existence of ‘character’ does not automatically justify applying the NRZ
P30 Mandatory provisions should be strategically justified and should not be applied where the issues they seek to address are adequately dealt with by existing planning provisions.

From our initial reading of the various RZSAC reports it is apparent that the Committee has completed a very thorough and robust review process – exactly what you would hope and expect in relation to such a significant planning reform.  It’s just unfortunate that the process was voluntary and that so few Councils chose to be involved.

Full copies of all of the Stage 1 reports and the Government response are available from the DTPLI website or via the following link.


Enquiries to Aran Barker on 03 8698 9300 or awb@colliepl.com.au