Land Use Planning Policy


1. All Land Use Planning decisions must give primacy to social equity and ecological sustainability – including open space and bio-diversity – in all human settlements.

2. Local governments must be represented at all levels of planning, and their communities should have opportunities for ongoing, substantive, and meaningful participation in planning decisions.

3. Significant land-use and transport projects should be subject to public audit, assessment and appeal processes.

4. Public confidence and planning in the public interest rely on proper process, including: fairness, certainty, transparency, accountability, independent assessment; enforcement and the rule of law; rights to notice and to object for the community and affected parties; and respect for local priorities.

5. Victoria’s cultural heritage is a precious asset and resource to be respected and protected for current and future generations.

6. Metropolitan Melbourne and major regional centres need comprehensive and active planning which:

  • a. limits the spread of urban areas and protects productive agricultural land by encouraging mixed and medium-density development in established centres and renewal sites within existing urban areas;
  • b. integrates transport, infrastructure and land-use planning, and respects major service industries;
  • c. includes discrete, diverse centres of activity; and
  • d. prioritises the efficient use of Victoria’s limited resources, economic opportunity, public transport, ecological sustainability, social equity and representative decision-making at all levels over promotion of rapid and unsustainable population and economic growth, and thus deliver healthy, human-scale, well-integrated, accessible and sociable communities.

7. Victorian planning policy must lead authorities to whom local or designated decision-making devolves, by setting mandatory and guideline standards, and allocating supporting funding, for their climate adaptation and carbon emissions mitigation planning.


1. Reform of the planning scheme to provide stable and sustainable zoning which:

  • a. answers community needs;
  • b. is based on publicly-accessible and thorough detailed description and needs-based research; and
  • c. makes clear what uses are, and are not acceptable in which zones.

2. A planning strategy for greater Melbourne which:

  • a. is facilitated by a metropolitan planning authority with a robust governance framework and a strong focus on deliberative and democratic community representation;
  • b. prioritises public transport, rail freight systems and integrated transport hubs;
  • c. meets the shortfall in affordable, public and social housing;
  • d. delivers sustainable medium-density development along transit corridors;
  • e. protects heritage and urban bio-diversity;
  • f. protects, expands and provides funding models to expand public open space;
  • g. enhances the food production capability of Melbourne; and
  • h. provides a clear framework for local government to fulfil its role as responsible authority for all planning applications, and planning authority for all local structure plans and master planning, within their boundaries.

3. Different target densities for activity centres, urban renewal areas and other residential areas which together act to prevent unsustainable urban sprawl. Targets will give due consideration to the history and character of the area, the provision of open space, canopy trees and space for community infrastructure, and will give local governments and their communities the required autonomy to prescribe built form design and development.

4. Mandatory inclusion of a mix of dwelling sizes in medium and high density general residential re-developments.

5. Legislation for a permanent green belt which forms part of the Urban Growth Boundary for Melbourne.

6. Urban Growth Boundaries, including green belts, for regional cities and towns.

7. Planning of regional cities and towns allowing for expansion consistent with state economic, industry and agriculture policies.

8. Appropriate regional and rural planning to protect productive agricultural land and minimise risks in bushfire prone areas.

9. Incorporation of Catchment Management Authorities’ flood inundation assessments into Victoria’s Planning Schemes.

10. The implementation of the planning scheme to ensure protection, remediation and enhancement of native vegetation and biodiversity, such protection including a credible mandatory Environmental Effects Statement process, which enables proposals that breach regulated or legislated standards to be blocked.

11. High quality public transport and walking and cycling infrastructure included in the commitment to, planning of and permits for any significant new or renewal urban land use projects.

12. Land use and transport decisions should be made after rigorous and transparent cost-benefit analyses, comparing relevant options.

13. All significant planning decision-making by local councils, within the statewide planning framework, mandated to include Community Engagement Frameworks.

14. Incorporation in the Planning scheme of the obligations of local and designated decision-making authorities regarding climate adaptation, through flood and coastal protection, water conservation, open space and biodiversity protection, sustainable design standards in the built environment (inc. renewal and retro-fit) and sustainable transport as they can be expressed in local projects, regulation and permit approval.

15. The removal of general thresholds in municipal Planning Schemes, which pass responsible authority status from Councils to the Planning Minister, and subjecting ministerial decisions under the power to 'call in' projects to greater transparency.

16. All significant planning scheme amendments that propose the protection of environmental, cultural and heritage values, to be coupled with interim controls that stay in place until the planning scheme amendment process for the permanent controls is completed.

17. VCAT reverting to being an administrative appeals body only, and reducing its discretion by:

  • a. requiring parties to first seek leave of the tribunal to hear an appeal, which must only be granted if the responsible authority has erred in law;
  • b. reducing the number of permit applications it considers due to failure of the responsible authority to make a determination within the timeframe set out in the Planning and Environment Act 1987, by increasing this timeframe for very large sites;
  • c. remaining accessible and affordable to all, and
  • d. hearing and concluding such appeal cases in a timely manner.

18. Urban planning to incorporate Crime Prevention through Environmental Design where consistent with ecological sustainability.

19. Mandate responsible authorities to enforce planning permits and prosecute breaches of the Planning and Environment Act.

20. Urban planning guidelines for new developments and urban renewal to include:

  • a. mandatory minimum percentages for affordable private housing and/or public housing, and area to be allocated for public open space in large new developments; and
  • b. the clustering of medium-density housing, community facilities and commercial developments around neighbourhood shopping centres and other social facilities (including health care and schooling) linked with public transport.

21. Public recreation open space being provided within accessible walking distance of all dwellings in urban areas.

22. Strengthening of the Heritage Act 1995 to:

  • a. ensure protection of declared heritage buildings, sites and streetscapes, including those of twentieth and twenty first century origin;
  • b. clarify and improve community engagement processes; and
  • c. restore objection and appeal processes to Heritage Council decisions.

23. Strengthening the Heritage Act 1995 and the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to ensure penalties, up to and including forfeiture of the land, for un-permitted demolition of State and locally significant heritage sites are substantial enough to act as a deterrent.

24. Adequate resourcing for Heritage Victoria so it can fulfil its obligations and strategic objectives.

25. State owned heritage-listed properties audited in respect of energy efficiency and carbon emissions, in order to better integrate the principles of adaptive re-use and environmentally-sustainable design in the re-furbishing and maintenance of such properties.

26. Heritage values being appropriately integrated into all planning policy, to ensure that new and re-development does not compromise heritage values, including the internal and social heritage of buildings.


Land Use Planning Policy as amended by State Council on 10th February 2018.