Speeding up the process

SIMPLE, faster planning permits are expected from legislation just introduced to State Parliament.

State Planning Minister Matthew Guy said the new process, known as VicSmart, would “provide certainty to applicants, councils and communities by implementing a prescriptive planning regime into local planning schemes”.

“Currently all applications follow a single permit process regardless of how complex or simple they are,” he said.

“This is inefficient and costly.

“Over the last decade there has been a consistent creep of red tape in our planning system to the point where simple planning processes are being undermined by complexity.”

VicSmart will not apply to applications for high-rise or high-density development but the minister said it had the potential to deal with around 10 per cent of annual permit activity, reducing assessment timeframes from an average of 62 business days to 10 business days.

The amendments follow recent Victorian Planning System Ministerial Advisory Committee recommendations.

The new process will apply to a range of different applications, including: minor subdivisions in urban areas; building or extending a fence within three metres of a street; managing vegetation; erecting a pergola; development in a flood risk area and other applications related to alternating road access and erecting small advertising signs.

Latrobe City Council was still assessing the proposed legislation on Friday and was unavailable for comment.