The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) is an independent tribunal that hears and determines a range of disputes. If you are dissatisfied with a Planning Permit decision made by Council, you can apply to have the decision reviewed by VCAT.

VCAT operates under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 and is overseen by the Victorian Attorney-General. For planning-related disputes, VCAT members are made up of town planners, lawyers, engineers and architects. VCAT allocates a particular member to a case based on the nature of the planning application.

The VCAT website contains important resources for people considering appealing a Council decision. It's important to contact VCAT if you need information or clarification about their processes. Council’s Statutory Planning staff can also answer general queries.

Council's decision and types of VCAT appeals

When Council assesses a Planning Permit application, the possible outcomes are:

  • If there are no objections and the application is supported, Council issues a Planning Permit.
  • If there are objections, but the application is supported, Council issues a Notice of Decision (NOD) to grant the permit.
  • If the application is not supported, Council issues a Refusal to Grant the Permit.

After Council has made their decision, common appeals to VCAT are:

  • The permit applicant appeals against Council’s refusal to grant the permit.
  • The permit applicant appeals against conditions Council has imposed on the Planning Permit.
  • The permit applicant appeals against Council’s failure to make a decision on their application within 60 days (a failure appeal).
  • An objector appeals against Council’s decision to issue a NOD.

Find out more about lodging a VCAT appeal.

Timeframe for lodging an appeal

Timeframes and processes for lodging an appeal vary and depend on whether you are the Planning Permit applicant or an objector.

Permit applicants have 60 days from the date of the decision to lodge an appeal and objectors have 21 days. A permit applicant can lodge a failure appeal if Council has not made a decision within 60 days.

It's important to note that the 60 days does not refer to 60 days from the date a Planning Permit application is lodged. Certain events reset the counting of the 60 days, such as when an applicant responds to a request for further information or if a formal amendment is made to the application.

Becoming party to a VCAT appeal

An individual who has not lodged the VCAT appeal themselves may join the appeals process as an additional party. For example:

  • If Council refuses to grant a Planning Permit and the permit applicant appeals the decision, a neighbour who objected during the application process can become party to the appeal and support Council's decision.
  • If Council grants a Planning Permit, despite a community member objecting to the application, and the objector appeals to VCAT, another community member can become party to the appeal and help dispute Council's decision.

Learn more about objector participation in VCAT appeals.

Further information

For more information, contact:

VCAT's Planning and Environment registry staff

Council's Statutory Planning Department

Note that this information does not replace professional town planning or legal advice. VCAT and Statutory Planning can assist with questions, however they are unable to advise whether to lodge an appeal. You can choose to seek your own professional town planning or legal advice before lodging an appeal.

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