_State and Local Project Exemptions from Planning Scheme Provisions

The Victorian State Government recently approved changes to all Victorian Planning Schemes being Amendment VC194 which introduces clauses 52.30 and 52.31. 

These new clauses are aimed at facilitating the timely (read less red tape) delivery of State and local government infrastructure projects, supposedly to support Victoria’s social and economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.  These provisions provide exemptions from planning scheme and planning permit for specified State and local government projects, subject to meeting specified pre-requisites.

Clause 52.30 relates to those projects determined by the Minister for Planning to be a ‘State project’.   

In order for the use or development to be considered a State project, the Minister must be satisfied that a range of criteria is met which includes the following. 

  • Carried out by or on behalf of, or jointly or in partnership with, the State of Victoria or a public authority.
  • Funded, or partly funded by, the State of Victoria or a public authority.
  • Carried out on Crown land.
  • Support Victoria’s economic recovery from the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

At this stage it is still somewhat unclear what the exact process is in relation to how one applies for a project to be considered by the Minister as a State project under clause 52.30. 

Clause 52.31 relates to those projects that are carried out by or on behalf of a municipal council.  Clause 52.31 does however, list a number of situations where a project does not qualify for the exemptions provided by clause 52.31.  Such situations include the following.

  • Development with an estimated cost of more than $10 million.
  • Development in an urban floodway zone unless carried out to the satisfaction of the floodplain management authority.
  • Development associated with the use of land for accommodation, earth and energy resources industry, energy generation faciality, industry or warehouse.
  • Development for which an environment effects statement has been, or is required, to be prepared.
  • Certain developments in relation to the removal of native vegetation.