The Andrews Labor Government is delivering on a key election commitment to put the community’s voice back into the planning process.
The Recognising Objectors Bill 2015 introduces a new decision-making consideration into the Planning and Environment Act 1987 that requires the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to recognise, where appropriate, the social impacts a future development may have. The Bill was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.
The number of objections and grounds for concern will be considered along with a development’s planning merits.
Previously, VCAT had no mechanism to recognise the extent of community concerns about development proposals.
“Planning decisions will always be better when the voice of the community is heard. It improves the decision- making process and leads to better outcomes," said Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne.
Community views will not outweigh planning rules, but this change means the community’s voice will be given consideration in VCAT decisions.
“Certainty in the planning system for both industry and the community is good for business, good for jobs and good for Victoria.”
“We need to have a system that the community and stakeholders have confidence in - which gives locals and developers a say.”
This change will be particularly relevant where a proposal may reduce access to community facilities or affect health and safety.
Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, said the new consideration would give the community greater confidence in Victoria’s planning system.
The Victorian planning system has been under sever scrutiny over the past eight months, and recently appointed Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, has been on a steadfast mission to lay down the law for both the design standards of apartments within Victoria, as well as a respectable comfort for owner-occupiers, and a welcoming process for foreign investors. Maintaining the balance between Australians and foreign investors is a tough challenge, and Mr Wynne has, so far, been astute in his perseverance of a fair deal.