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Victoria’s planning system is overly complex. The inefficiency and delays incurred in planning approvals results in additional costs for new home buyers and impacts housing affordability.
Too many acceptable and compliant housing developments require merit based planning approval with timeframes for processing applications routinely ignored.
There are many simple changes that could improve the operation of the planning system and promote timely housing supply.
The Commissioner for Better Regulation has undertaken a long process of developing reforms to improve the efficiency of the planning system, however, the recommendations are yet to be implemented.
VicSmart provides a faster planning approvals opportunity, but currently only applies to a very narrow range of application types. It should be expanded to capture compliant low risk residential developments.
A better planning process for small multi-dwelling projects of between two and ten dwellings is urgently needed.
Private sector or third-party involvement in some routine parts of the planning process, such as certifying that an application is complete when lodged with Council, could also help ease the heavy workload of decision makers.
Councils add cost and delay by taking an ad hoc approach to design requirements that are outside the scope of ResCode, leading to unwarranted design changes being requested after lodgement. A streamlined assessment model has been proposed, and is supported by industry. It would ensure ResCode compliant designs receive more consistent and timely consideration.
Implement the recommendations of the Commissioner for Better Regulation outlined within the ‘Turning Best Practice into Common Practice’ report
Expand VicSmart to address a wider range of matters including single dwellings, ‘dual occupancy’, renovations and additions and developments where only one matter would trigger a planning permit, such as a single planning overlay
Introduce the ability for private planners to be involved in certifying that an application is complete when lodged, to ease the burden on councils and improve their decision-making process
Implement the proposed ‘improving the operation of ResCode’ model, while making fully ResCode ‘compliant’ applications exempt from public notice and appeal rights.