A Guide to the Planning System

Planning refers to the decisions that change the environment and affect everyday life. These decisions might be about new public transport, the size of a new shopping centre, the location of parks, a bike path or a new road. These planning decisions may influence how we get to work, where we shop and what we do in our spare time.

Under Victoria's planning system local councils and the State Government develop planning schemes to control land use and development, and to ensure the protection and conservation of land in Victoria in the present and long-term interests of all Victorians.

These schemes are developed in line with planning policy and strategy and contain planning policies, zones, overlays and other provisions that affect how land can be used and developed.

Some common planning processes

In Victoria's planning system the most common planning processes are:

Planning on a Page

This simple poster shows how everyone can be involved and influence planning policy and its translation into the planning controls.

Planning on a Page (PDF, 1.3 MB, 2 pp.)

Planning: a Short Guide

Planning: a Short Guide outlines the planning permit application process and planning scheme amendment processes, and the course to be followed when applying for or making submissions about planning permits. It is designed to clarify the rights, roles and responsibilities of all parties at each stage of the process.

Planning: a Short Guide (PDF, 538.0 KB, 34 pp.)
Planning: a Short Guide (DOC, 383.5 KB, 33 pp.)

Using Victoria's Planning System

Using Victoria's Planning System is a guide for those who use the planning system on a regular basis as well as those who have occasional contact with it. The guide is designed to assist professional planners, officers of authorities, councillors, students, people making an application for a planning permit and people who may be affected by planning proposals. It is a technical guide to interpretation and administrative procedures under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and the Planning and Environment Regulations 2005 and their interaction with other related legislation and planning schemes.

The documents below comprise the latest version of Using Victoria's Planning System. To be advised of updates, subscribe to our free weekly email alert Planning Matters.

Use the tabs to navigate to chapters. Linked, coloured section headings in each chapter's content list assist navigation within the chapter.

Complete Using Victoria's Planning System, 28 May 2015 (PDF 2.6 MB)

Cover, 6 May 2015 (PDF, 254.5 KB, 1 p.) 
Table of Contents, 6 May 2015 (PDF, 175.5 KB, 8 pp.) 
Introduction, 6 May 2015 (PDF, 242.0 KB, 3 pp.) or (DOC, 61.0 KB, 2 pp.)
Chapter 1 Planning Schemes, 25 May 2015 (PDF, 515.9 KB, 18 pp.) or (DOC, 180.0 KB, 14 pp.)
Chapter 2 Amendments, 25 May 2015 (PDF, 644.1 KB, 54 pp.) or (DOC, 514.5 KB, 22 pp.)
Chapter 3 Planning Permits, 28 May 2015 (PDF 851.3 KB) or (DOC, 506.5 KB, 51 pp.)
Chapter 4 - Other Procedures, 28 May 2015 (PDF, 286.2 KB, 6 pp.) or (DOC, 78.5 KB, 5 pp.)
Chapter 5 - Reviews, 28 May 2015 (PDF, 558.8 KB, 27 pp.) or (DOC, 177.0 KB, 27 pp.)
Chapter 6 - Acquisition and Compensation, 28 May 2015 (PDF, 369.8 KB, 12 pp.) or (DOC, 80.5 KB, 10 pp.)
Chapter 7 - Enforcement, 28 May 2015 (PDF, 482.6 KB, 20 pp.) or (DOC, 122.0 KB, 17 pp.)
Chapter 8 - Agreements, 28 May 2015 (PDF, 346.8 KB, 11 pp.) or (DOC, 87.5 KB, 9 pp.)
Chapter 9 - Plain English, 6 May 2015 (PDF, 485.0 KB, 26 pp.) or (DOC, 200.0 KB, 24 pp.)
Glossary, 6 May 2015 (PDF, 289.8 KB, 3 pp.)  or (DOC, 66.5 KB, 3 pp.)

Practice and advisory notes

A series of practice and advisory notes are available to assist users of the planning system.

These practice notes and advisory notes are generally aimed at planning professionals, but they can also be useful for people who only occasionally interact with the system.

  • Practice Notes relate to a range of planning processes and topics, including preparation of planning scheme content and assessment under schemes
  • Advisory Notes - relate to changes to specific subjects and new initiatives.

You can view a full list of planning publications, guides and notes at Planning Publications.

Page last reviewed on 29 May 2015

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