Updated 29 April 2020

Due to the implications of the COVID-19 crisis, the Victorian government has passed the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act 2020.

This postpones the commencement of the Environment Protection Amendment Act 2018. The Government intends this new legislation will now take effect from 1 July 2021. The proposed updates to Victoria's land-use planning system are also intended to commence at that time.

As a result, public consultation on the proposed updates to Victoria's land-use planning system has now been extended by 4 weeks.

Submissions will now close on Tuesday 2 June 2020.

Please note: All reference to the 1 July 2020 commencement date in draft documents should now be read to refer to 1 July 2021

Overview

Overview

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is proposing updates to Victoria’s land-use planning system to bring it in line with the new environment protection framework, now due to come into effect in 2021 with the delayed commencement of the Environment Protection Amendment Act 2018.

The proposed updates will ensure that the Environment Protection Act 2017 (as amended by the Environment Protection Amendment Act 2018) and its subordinate instruments functions at commencement and that effective interaction between the environment protection framework and the planning system is maintained. This includes amendments that will integrate updated requirements for the management of potentially contaminated land within the planning system.

The proposed updates include changes to the Victoria Planning Provision (VPP) clauses that refer to instruments under the Environment Protection Act. They also include updates to Ministerial Direction No. 1 – Potentially Contaminated Land, and Planning Practice Note 30: Potentially Contaminated Land.

These updates have been developed in collaboration with the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and deliver on commitments in the Government response to the Independent Inquiry into the Environment Protection Authority. They follow on from extensive public consultation held to inform the development of Victoria’s new environment protection laws.

We’re inviting feedback on the proposed updates through the form below. Draft documents can be found in the document library. After receiving submissions from the public, DELWP will consider the feedback and finalise the updated planning provisions by end of September 2020.

Updates are proposed to improve and strengthen Clause 13.04-1S Contaminated and potentially contaminated land. Key changes proposed are:

  • Additional and updated strategies
  • Addition of all ‘sensitive uses’ as being relevant for remediation of contaminated land, including child care centres, kindergartens, pre-school centres, primary schools, secondary schools and children’s playgrounds, even if ancillary to another use.
  • Reference to the current State Environment Protection Policy (Prevention and Management of Contamination of Land) has been removed (outdated reference).
Specific details about proposed changes to Clause 13.04-1S are provided in the document library

Updates are proposed to clarify, improve and strengthen the requirements when an Environmental Audit Overlay (EAO) applies to land. Key changes proposed are:

  • Clarifying the purpose of the provision is to apply to potentially contaminated land proposed to be used for a sensitive use, agriculture or public open space.
  • Clarifying that the provision applies whether or not a permit is required
  • Expanding the definition ‘sensitive uses’ to also include secondary schools and children’s playgrounds, even if ancillary to another use.
  • Updating environmental audit requirements to bring them in line with the Environment Protection Act 2017 (as amended to commence on 1 July 2021)
  • Clarifying exemptions from the requirement for an environmental audit, including use of a preliminary risk screen assessment for an existing sensitive use on the land and exemptions for works not associated with a change in land use and not involving soil disturbance.

Specific details about proposed changes to Clause 45.03 are provided in the document library.

A minor update is proposed to these clauses to clarify that before deciding on an application or approval of a plan or application to subdivide land, the responsible authority must consider, as appropriate:

  • Any significant effects the environment, including any contamination of land may have on the use or development of the land.

Specific details about proposed changes to Clauses 65.10 and 65.02 are provided in the document library.

Updates are proposed to include a definition of potentially contaminated land in the list of general terms. This is an updated version of the definition currently in Ministerial Direction No. 1 clarifying that it applies:

  • where there is storage of chemicals, gas, wastes or liquid fuel above or below ground; and
  • where known past or present activities or events on the land or offsite have the potential to have caused contamination.

Specific details about proposed changes to Clause 73.01 are provided in the document library.

In addition to the proposed changes to specific VPP clauses listed above, administrative changes throughout the VPPs will also be made to update references to and align with the Environment Protection Act 2017 and new subordinate instruments proposed to apply from 1 July 2021 under the Environment Protection Act 2017, e.g. Environment Reference Standard.

These changes and corrections are necessary to:

  • replace references to State Environment Protection Policies (SEPPs), that will cease to exist from 1 July 2021, with references to new subordinate instruments
  • update references to EPA licences and Works Approvals to reflect the EPA permissioning framework under the new EP Act
  • update references to EPA publications, including Best Practice Environmental Management Guidelines, where appropriate, and
  • reflect the importance of consideration of ‘environment, amenity and human health’ consistent with Ministerial Direction 19, approved in October 2018.

These administrative changes are being developed in conjunction with the finalisation of the new subordinate instruments. A detailed list of all changes will be included for approval in the final amendment package.

Updates are proposed to Ministerial Direction No. 1 - Potentially Contaminated Land (MD1) to align with the Environment Protection Act 2017 and new subordinate instruments proposed to apply from 1 July 2021 under the Environment Protection Act 2017. Key changes proposed are:

  • Updated definition of ‘potentially contaminated land’ to be consistent with the definition in proposed VPP Clause 73.01 General Terms.
  • Expanding the definition ‘sensitive uses’ to also include secondary schools and children’s playgrounds, even if ancillary to another use.
  • Updating environmental audit requirements to bring them in line with the Environment Protection Act 2017 (as amended to commence on 1 July 2021). This includes reference to the preliminary risk screen assessment as an alternative to an environmental audit in some circumstances.
  • Updates to the requirements to allow a planning authority to defer the requirement for an audit by including in the amendment the application of the Environmental Audit Overlay in the Victoria Planning Provisions to all land that it has determined to be potentially contaminated.

Specific details about proposed changes to Ministerial Direction No. 1 are provided in the document library.

Updates are proposed to Planning Practice Note 30 – Potentially Contaminated Land (PPN30) to align with the Environment Protection Act 2017 and new subordinate instruments proposed to apply from 1 July 2021 under the Environment Protection Act 2017. Key changes proposed are:

  • Updated definition of ‘potentially contaminated land’ to be consistent with the definition in proposed VPP Clause 73.01 General Terms.
  • Expanding the definition ‘sensitive uses’ to also include secondary schools and children’s playgrounds, even if ancillary to another use.
  • Updating environmental audit requirements to bring them in line with the Environment Protection Act 2017 (as amended to commence on 1 July 2021). This includes reference to the preliminary risk screen assessment as an alternative to an environmental audit in some circumstances.
  • Updated guidance on what form of assessment is appropriate for identification of potentially contaminated land.
  • Reference to the current State Environment Protection Policy (Prevention and Management of Contamination of Land) has been removed (outdated reference).

Specific details about proposed changes to PPN30 are provided in the document library.

Below are explanations of some commonly used terms.

Planning Policy Framework

The Planning Policy Framework (PPF) comprises general principles for land use and development in Victoria and specific policies dealing with settlement, environment, housing, economic development, infrastructure, and particular uses and development. To ensure integrated decision-making, planning authorities and responsible authorities must take account of and give effect to the general principles and the specific policies contained in the PPF.

Victoria Planning Provisions

The Victoria Planning Provisions is a document containing a comprehensive set of planning provisions for Victoria. It is not a planning scheme and does not apply to any land. It is a statewide reference used, as required, to construct a planning scheme.

Sensitive use

Sensitive uses in relation to these proposed amendments are land uses considered to be sensitive to contamination from industry and other uses due to their impact on human health. These include:

  • Residential uses
  • Child care centres, kindergartens, and pre-school centres
  • Primary and Secondary schools
  • Children’s playgrounds

Environmental Audit

Defined under the Environment Protection Act 2017, an environmental audit is formally established under the audit system as an assessment of the nature and extent of the risk of harm to human health and environment from a contaminated site and recommend measures to manage those risks. Risks can include harm from waste, noise pollution, air pollution, contamination of land or water.

Environmental audits can only be undertaken by an EPA appointed auditor. EPA maintains a list of appointed auditors to select from.

Preliminary Risk Screen Assessment

Defined under the Environment Protection Act 2017, a preliminary risk screen assessment (PRS) provides a primarily desktop assessment (sometimes with limited physical sampling) and auditor sign-off. The PRS establishes risk of proposal, whether an audit is required and the scope of any subsequent audit.

PRS assessment is best suited to lower risk circumstances, as outlined in the proposed draft Planning Practice Note 30. An applicant may choose to skip this if they decide to go direct to audit.

Regional contamination

Regional contamination is determined by EPA as contamination that may be present broadly across a specified region. For example, this kind of contamination may be common in places where there have been previous mining activities leading to elevated levels of contaminant.

Document Library

Document Library

Draft planning provisions - proposed updates

These are the proposed draft documents for updates to the Planning Policy Framework and other Victoria Planning Provision clauses:

Draft Clause 13.04-1S
PDF (136.83 KB)

13.04-1S Contaminated and potentially contaminated land

Draft Clause 13.04-1S - accessible version
MS Word (3.23 MB)

13.04-1S Contaminated and potentially contaminated land

Draft Clause 45.03
PDF (141.16 KB)

45.03 Environmental Audit Overlay

Draft Clause 45.03 - accessible version
MS Word (24.23 KB)

45.03 Environmental Audit Overlay

Draft Clauses 65.01 and 65.02
PDF (62.10 KB)

65.01 Approval of an application or plan

65.02 Approval of an application to subdivide land

​Draft Clauses 65.01 and 65.02 - accessible version
MS Word (3.83 MB)

65.01 Approval of an application or plan

65.02 Approval of an application to subdivide land

Draft Clause 73.01 addition to General Terms
PDF (70.02 KB)
Draft Clause 73.01 addition to General Terms - accessible version
MS Word (19.67 KB)
Summary of other proposed VPP changes
PDF (97.33 KB)
Summary of other proposed VPP changes - accessible version
MS Word (272.38 KB)

​Ministerial Direction and guidance

These are the proposed draft documents for updates to Ministerial Direction No. 1 and General Practice Note 30:

Draft Ministerial Direction No. 1 - Potentially Contaminated Land
PDF (127.30 KB)
Draft Ministerial Direction No. 1 - Potentially Contaminated Land - accessible version
MS Word (25.36 KB)
Draft Planning Practice Note 30 - Potentially contaminated land
PDF (490.67 KB)
Draft Planning Practice Note 30 - Potentially contaminated land - Accessible version
MS Word (398.00 KB)

Links to current planning provisions and Ministerial Direction

Have your say

Please review the draft documents and provide your feedback by either: providing us with some general comments via the web form below or developing a submission and uploading it to this page.

For each of the proposed changes your submission could:

  • state your (or your organisation's) position on the proposed policy amendments.
  • explain your position, supporting your explanation with evidence as you see fit
  • explain any other change you would like

If you prefer to provide you own submission, you can upload your document here. You can also upload an image/s, other supporting documents or other files as part of your submission. Note: Only one file can be attached at a time.

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Privacy Collection Notice

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is committed to protecting personal information provided by you in accordance with the principles of the Victorian privacy laws. The submission you provide to DELWP will be used to help finalise proposed updates to planning provisions and related planning documents.

The information you provide will be made available to DELWP and Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) and de-identified, to develop a consultation report. This report will be made available online. Your contact details may be used to contact you should we need to clarify your submission or to provide you with project updates.

To protect individual privacy, DELWP will remove your name and address from your submission when we receive it. If you do not wish to be identified, please ensure there is no other information in your submission that could identify you or other individuals.

De-identified submissions may be used by DELWP, EPA, or its contracted service providers under confidentiality agreements, in preparing its recommendations to government.

Please note, if all requested information is not received we will not be able to process your submission. If you do not provide your email address we will not be able to identify your submission if you wish to access it, make a correction, or require technical support.

Should you need to correct the information you provided or gain access to your submission, please contact us via email at epa.reform@delwp.vic.gov.au.

You have the right to access and correct your personal information. Requests for access should be sent to the Manager Privacy, P.O. Box 500 East Melbourne 3002 or contact by phone on 03 9637 8697.