Review of Planning and Subdivision Fees

Submissions are invited on the Regulatory Impact Statement

A Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) has been prepared for the proposed Planning and Environment (Fees) Regulations 2016 and the proposed Subdivision (Fees) Regulations 2016. The proposed Regulations are made under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and the Subdivision Act 1988.

The RIS process allows members of the community to comment on proposed Regulations before they are finalised. Public input provides valuable information and perspectives, and improves the overall quality of regulation. Accordingly, feedback on the proposed Regulations is welcomed and encouraged. 

Submissions are requested by 5.00 pm 24 June 2016.

Downloads:

For assistance with enquiries or to access the documents above (including printing documents), please:

How can I make a submission?

The preferred method of receiving submissions is via the online form.

Make your submission online

Alternatively your submission can be:

  • attached to the online form, or
  • attached to an email addressed to planning.systems@delwp.vic.gov.au, or
  • received by post, marked 'Planning and Subdivision (Fees) Regulations 2016' and addressed to:
     
    Director
    Planning Systems
    Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
    PO Box 500
    East Melbourne Vic 8002

Submissions close at 5.00 pm on 24 June 2016.

What is a Regulatory Impact Statement?

A RIS assesses the impact of new, sunsetting or amending regulations. The Subordinate Legislation Act 1994 requires a RIS to be prepared for regulations that create a significant economic or social burden. Under the Subordinate Legislation Act guidelines, quantifiable costs greater than $2 million per year is considered to be a significant economic or social burden. Fees regulations are generally considered to impose a significant economic or social burden.

Why do the regulations need to change?

Most of the planning fees currently in place were set in 2000 and many have remained unchanged, or have been increased on an ad-hoc basis to account for changes in CPI (the last increase occurred in 2009/10) and have been extended on an interim basis on a number of occasions.

The Subordinate Legislation Act 1994 requires that regulations such as the fees regulations expire after ten years in operation. The objective of this sun-setting provision is to ensure that regulations are regularly reviewed to check whether the regulation is still required and if so, how it might be improved to better achieve the desired benefits.

A new data collection and analysis study was commissioned by the department to identify the actual cost to councils for providing planning and subdivision services. The study found that in most cases costs are significantly higher than the current fees. While it is difficult to aggregate fees across all councils and across different types of fees, it is estimated that current fees only recover about 20-30 per cent of the actual costs to councils of providing planning and subdivision services.

What do the proposed regulations seek to do?

The proposed Regulations seek to increase the fees that can be charged by local councils (or other responsible planning authorities) for the services provided under the legislation to an appropriate level of cost recovery. See the table below for a summary of the proposed changes. A full list of the proposed fees is at Attachment A of the RIS.

It is proposed that the new fees be converted to fee units and be subject to annual indexation according to the value of fee units set by the Treasurer under the Monetary Units Act 2004.

The proposed new fees are aimed at recovering a greater percentage of costs from those making applications. However, some categories of fees have been set below the estimated costs, in order to achieve fairness or other policy objectives.

Summary of the results of the RIS

The RIS has considered alternative options for setting fees including different fee levels and different fee structures, such as specifying different categories for which a different fee level may apply. These options were identified through a cost data collection exercise from councils and in consultation with a Stakeholder Reference Group, comprising local government and industry representatives. 

All options were assessed against the objectives of efficiency, effectiveness, equity and simplicity. The RIS concludes that the proposed Regulations (based on the preferred option) are the best means of achieving the stated objectives. Importantly, the proposed Regulations support affordability objectives for households and small business.

The Office of the Commissioner for Better Regulation (OCBR) has verified that the analysis contained in the RIS meets the requirements of the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994.

Download a copy of OCBR's final assessment letter of 17 May 2016 verifying the RIS meets the requirements of the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994:

What will happen after the consultation has ended?

In accordance with the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994 requirements, after consultation the Minister for Planning must consider all submissions and comments received about the proposed Regulations. Once all submissions have been considered, a notice advising of the decision to make or not make the regulations will be published in the Government Gazette and a daily newspaper circulating generally throughout Victoria.

The department will also provide a statement that provides reasons for decisions made about the final regulations and that broadly responds to the issues raised in submissions. This statement will be published on the department's website and will also be available in hard copy format.

Queries and information

Please do not contact the department to query the status of your submission.

Any other queries related to the regulatory impact statement process can be directed to the Victorian Government Contact Centre on 1300 366 356 (local call cost), or by email to planning.systems@delwp.vic.gov.au


Background to the review of planning and subdivision fees

The Minister for Planning commenced a review of the planning and subdivision fees in October 2015. The review is expected to take place over a 12 month period.

Consultants have been engaged by the department to advise on how much it costs councils to meet their planning and subdivision functions and to prepare a regulatory impact statement to consider options for new fees.

What are the stages of the review process?

The review is broadly made of up of 3 stages:

  • Stage 1 – collection and analysis of council costs for delivering planning and subdivision services
  • Stage 2 – development of options and preparation of a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) and associated draft regulations
  • Stage 3 – public release of RIS and draft regulations, consideration and response to submissions and finalisation of the regulations.

What has the review considered?

The review focused on the following:

  • planning and subdivision functions for which fees should be charged
  • recommendations for the appropriate level of cost recovery
  • the cost of delivering planning and subdivision functions (direct and indirect costs)
  • the alternative and recommended models for prescribing fees
  • the appropriate fees.

What happened to the previous review that was undertaken in 2008?

A review of the current planning and subdivision fees was previously undertaken in 2008 including a data collection exercise in 2009. However, the resulting draft regulatory impact statement was not released for public consultation. As this data is now considered out-of-ate, the Minister has asked the department to undertake a new fees review.

Page last reviewed on 22 June 2016

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