Faster, Simpler Town Planning Process?

Faster, Simpler Town Planning Process?

VicSmart is a new permit process for straightforward and simple town planning applications. This new initiative from the Victorian Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure aims to create a fast and streamlined process for a range of uncomplicated town planning applications. It will be introduced into all Victorian Planning Schemes shortly.


What you can expect from the VicSmart process:

  • A 10 business day turnaround, after which a failure to determine application may be lodged with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
  • A 5 business days for a further information request which stops the statutory clock.
  • No advertising (and therefore no third party appeal rights).
  • All Information to be submitted with an application and what Council can consider is clearly defined within the planning scheme. This means the Council cannot ask for anything outside of these definitions.
  • Applicants are to obtain referral consent prior to lodging the town planning application.
  • People may apply for basic provisions such as approval of external colours in a Heritage Overlay.

There is also capacity for Councils to create local VicSmart applications, further broadening the range of applications they may consider.

At this stage, the anticipated launch date for VicSmart is the 19th of September.  Any current applications which qualify will be transferred as a VicSmart Application on the day it is introduced.  Councils then have 10 business days to process these applications.

A Word of Caution

I offer a cautionary note about this new 10 day turnaround process. The only mechanism for compliance is through VCAT.  VCAT will process these applications through the short cases listing; however, it will likely take 4-6 weeks to get a hearing. Based on this assumption, I imagine in most circumstances it’s preferable to wait for the Council, unless they experience significant delays.

It is anticipated that VicSmart will process approximately 8500 applications this year. Hopefully the reduced time and effort in processing these applications will result in faster assessment rates for other types of town planning applications.

Melanie’s View

I was impressed to hear that the VicSmart team have compiled a booklet of suggested business practices for Councils to assist them with the VicSmart implementation process and achieve decisions in 10 business days.  Hopefully, this will be well received and used to improve the performance of many Councils.

I recently attended an information session on it run by the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure and I would be happy to discuss it with you in detail if you have any questions.

Further information including the types of applications that will be under VicSmart can be found here.