0Proposed planning scheme ammendments Council plans and review of municipal planning schemes

Council plans and review of municipal planning schemes


Each municipal planning scheme provides the vision and basis for decisions on the future land use and development and the operation of planning in their respective municipality.

It is critical that there is an awareness of when respective councils are preparing their Council Plans which in turn is the trigger for each council to prepare for the review its planning scheme as required by the State Government.

This process is a very significant opportunity for environmental groups to identify and advocate for issues central to the future of the environment in their local government area or region.


Under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Section 12B) a planning authority which is a municipal council must review its planning scheme no later than one year after each date by which it is required to approve a Council Plan under section 125 of the Local Government Act 1989, or within such a longer period as determined by the Planning Minister. According to the Local Government Act a Council Plan must be prepared and approved after each general election.

General State elections are conducted on a set term in November every four years. The last state election in Victoria was held in November 2014. The status of the review process will need to be obtained on a council by council basis.

This review offers a very real opportunity for environmental groups to advocate for issues of importance for their given local area and seek to amend the Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS) and the accompanying Local Policy.

The MSS is a visionary statement that contains:

(a) The strategic planning, land use and development objectives of the planning authority;

(b) The strategies for achieving the objectives;

(c) A general explanation of the relationship between those objectives and strategies and the controls on the use and development of land in the planning scheme; and

(d) Any other provision or matter which the Minister directs to be included in the municipal strategic statement.

Overall the MSS provides the vision and policy for determining the future land use allowed and its spatial distribution within a municipality and the rationale for the zone and overlay requirements and particular provisions in that council’s planning scheme.

An MSS must be consistent with the Council Plan.

A fuller explanation of the review process can be found in the General Practice Note: ‘Review of Planning Schemes, Planning and Environment Act 1987, Section 12B’.


There is a need for environmental groups to Identify when their respective municipal councils are reviewing their planning schemes and the opportunities for participation and advocate for key environmental issues.

The monthly listing of the planning scheme amendments does help do this but the usually short exhibition time after they are entered on the state government website means that groups need to be proactive if they are to have the maximum opportunity for input to the development of the new council plan and the subsequent process for the revision of the planning scheme.

Planning Scheme reviews

Melbourne Metro area Region 

Hume City C176 This amendment proposes to replace the existing Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS) with a new MSS. It has been exhibited and Council will be currently considering the submissions. Council could well request a Planning Panel if it has received objections. Interested local environmental groups should follow up with the Hume City Council to find out its status.
Whittlesea City C197 This amendment updates the MSS. A planning panel was convened and a report has been submitted to Council. It is currently waiting on Council to review the panel report.
Knox City C150 This amendment implements the findings of the Knox Planning Scheme Review 2105. It is on exhibition and the submissions close very soon (19/09/16). It is likely that a Planning Panel will be called if there are objections and local environment groups  should contact Council for further information.
Frankston C100. This amendment includes an updated MSS and Local Policies. It is currently the subject of a Planning Panel Hearing. Local environment groups should contact the Council for information on the status of the hearing.

South West Region 

Ballarat C194. This amendment replaces the existing MSS. A panel report has been submitted to the Council. It would be informative for local environment groups to view the panel report when available and should contact the Council about this. It is too late to have input on this review but groups can review the proposed new MSS and identfiy any environmental shortcomings for the next planning scheme review that will take place after the 2018 state government elections.

North East Region 

Mansfield C037. This amendment implements the Mansfield Planning Scheme Review 2015. A planning panel report has been submitted to the Council and the Council has submitted it to the Planning Department for approval. It would be useful for environmental groups to view the new MSS and identify any environmental shortcomings for the next planning scheme review that will take place after the 2018 state government elections.

Eastern Region 

Latrobe C097. This amendment replaces the existing MSS with a new MSS. A planning panel has been appointed and a Directions Hearing has been or is to be held. Local environment groups should contact the Council about the status of the panel hearing process.