Applying for a review
If your permit application is refused by the council or responsible authority, or their decision contains conditions which you are not happy about, you may lodge an application for review to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
You can also apply for a VCAT review if you are an objector, and council has issued a Notice of Decision to grant a planning permit.
VCAT conducts public hearings and considers submissions from all parties involved. They assess the proposal's planning merits, decide whether a permit should be granted or refused, and what conditions are appropriate.
VCAT uses a different process for VicSmart applications. More information is on the VCAT website.
The process is largely the same for permit applicants and objectors. The main difference is that objectors have 21 days in which to lodge an application for review, while permit applicants have 60 days from when the decision was made.
The application for review must be submitted on the official form and sent to the Administrative Division of VCAT, 7th Floor, 55 King Street, Melbourne 3000, along with the prescribed fee.
One or more VCAT members hear the case and hearings are conducted in a structured, formal way. Although parties may be represented by a lawyer or planner, this is not essential and many permit applicants and objectors present their own submissions.
Once it has commenced, a proceeding can only be stopped if VCAT agrees to it.
Any decision of VCAT is final and binding on all parties to the review, except on questions of law. An appeal against a tribunal decision on a question of law may be made to the Supreme Court.
Cost of review
Parties to a VCAT proceeding normally bear their own costs. However, if the tribunal considers the proceedings are vexatious or frivolous, or to secure or maintain a direct or indirect commercial advantage, or that someone has suffered as a result, then costs and sometimes damages may be ordered against those who lodged the application for review.
If you need more information on the review procedure, visit the VCAT office at 55 King Street, Melbourne or go to www.vcat.vic.gov.au
- Planning - a Short Guide (PDF, 538.0 KB, 34 pp.) Planning: a Short Guide provides more detailed information about the permit and review processes for occasional users of the planning system.
- Chapter 3 Planning Permits (PDF 851.3 KB) This chapter of Using Victoria's Planning System provides detailed information about the permit and review processes.