In its submission to the Victorian Government’s Reforming the Victoria Planning Provisions discussion paper, the City of Boroondara strongly urged the Victorian Government to provide councils and the community with the opportunity to review and provide feedback on the details of the reforms prior to finalising the new VPP.

The discussion paper outlined the proposed changes to the structure and operation of the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP). The VPP is the framework on which all Victorian planning schemes are based. Planning schemes are key tools that enable state and local government to implement planning policies.

Mayor of Boroondara, Councillor Jim Parke, said “given the lack of detail contained in the discussion paper, we fear some of the proposed reforms seek to shut out local communities from the planning process by introducing exemptions from public notice and third party rights and weakening local planning policies in the guise of efficiencies and streamlining.”

“The Government has an ambitious timeframe to implement the reforms and will limit future consultation to the Advisory Group and Technical Reference Group. This approach doesn’t allow adequate time for a genuine public debate with all affected stakeholders,” Cr Parke said.

“We are highly concerned by the Government’s obvious effort to stifle public debate about the reform. Members of the advisory and reference groups have been asked to sign confidentiality agreements, which prevent them from sharing the information and documentation provided with other council employees and councillors.

“The discussion paper is a good conversation starter. Our planning system should be efficient and responsive. However, past experiences show that unrealistic timeframes result in inferior planning controls, which require continuous fix ups to prevent unintended outcomes.

“We call on the Government to reconsider the implementation timeframes and undertake meaningful consultation with all stakeholders on the detail of the proposed reforms.”

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