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Planning approaches in Victoria


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Planning system

Under Victoria's planning system local councils and the State Government develop planning schemes to control land use and development, and to ensure the protection and conservation of land in Victoria in the present and long-term interests of all Victorians.

These schemes are developed in line with planning policy and strategy and contain planning policies, zones, overlays and other provisions that affect how land can be used and developed.

Victorian Planning Controls are as follows:

  • The Planning and Environment Act sets the legal framework for the planning system
  • Each municipality in Victoria is covered by a planning scheme that regulates the use, development and protection of that land
  • Planning schemes set out the planning rules – the state and local policies, zones, overlays and provisions about specific land uses that inform planning decisions
  • Council develop the vision for the municipality with input from the community
  • These ideas are included in the planning scheme as local policies and the Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS)
  • A planning scheme can only be changed by a formal amendment process
  • Permit application decisions must be consistent with the planning scheme.

Climate challenges

With a population of approximately 5.5 million people, Victoria contains 23% of Australia’s population and covers 227 504 square kilometres. The state is made up of 79 local government areas.

Key industries in Victoria include primary production and agriculture, tourism, and energy and resources. Victoria is Australia’s largest producer of mutton, lamb and dairy products. Other important products include wool, beef, grain and fodder crops, and fruit and vegetables. Victoria features iconic natural attractions such as the Twelve Apostles, Gippsland Lakes, Grampians, Dandenong Ranges, Australian Alps and Wilsons Promontory. Melbourne’s myriad attractions include shops, restaurants, museums, theatres, sports stadiums, parks and zoos.

Victoria experiences a wide range of climatic conditions. These range from the hot summers of the northern Loddon Mallee to the winter snow storms of the alpine areas in Hume and Gippsland, and from the relatively dry wheat belt of the Loddon Mallee and the Grampians to the wet elevated areas of Gippsland.

In Victoria, the rate of warming has increased since 1960. On average, rainfall has declined since the 1950s, especially in autumn. The harsh Millennium Drought (1996 to 2009) followed the wet decades of the 1950s and 1970s. Sea level today is approximately 225 mm higher than in 1880.

In the future Victoria can expect more days of extreme heat, harsher fire weather, less rainfall, rising sea level and more frequent and intense heavy downpours. In order to help communities understand and prepare for these climate change impacts, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has developed regional-specific information sheets. The Climate-Ready information sheets explain in detail what the likely effects of climate change will be, what communities need to do to ensure they adapt to a changing climate and what opportunities a new climate may bring.

- See more at:

Key planning policies/strategies

Victorian Climate Change Adaptation Plan -

Western Regional Coastal Plan -

Key planning legislation

Coastal Management Act 1995 -

Climate Change Act 2017 -

Other relevant information

New Marine and Coastal Act

In consultation with the community and experts, we have developed a broad package of reforms to establish the new Marine and Coastal Act. This package includes the Marine and Coastal Bill which has been introduced to parliament.

The Bill will improve the current marine and coastal management system by: establishing clear objectives and guiding principles for decision making; improving governance and institutional arrangements; strengthening marine and coastal planning and management; establishing a mechanism to improve understanding of the marine and coastal environment; and supporting adaptation to climate change.

More information can be found at

Local Coastal Hazard Assessments

DELWP partnered with local councils and catchment management authorities to produce four local coastal hazards pilot projects at Port Fairy, Bellarine Peninsula/Corio Bay, Western Port and Gippsland Lakes/90 Mile Beach. These provide high quality technical information on future erosion and inundation and provide the basis for decision makers to plan for future risks and develop strategies to manage these risks. In the 2017-18 Budget, the Victorian Government commited to deliver a Local Coastal Hazard Assessment for Port Phillip Bay.

Victoria’s Climate Change Adaptation Plan 2017-2020

The Victorian Government released Victoria’s Climate Change Adaptation Plan 2017-2020 in February 2017. It will help the state to meet the challenges and act on the opportunities of current and longer-term climate change. The Adaptation Plan is a whole-of-government policy, and outlines actions to more effectively manage risks to the government’s own assets and services, help the community to understand and manage the risks and impacts of climate change and encourage adaptation action across all policy areas and sectors of the community.

Some of the key actions in the Adaptation Plan are:

  • Providing downscaled climate change data and information in fit for purpose forms for the community
  • Embedding climate change in emergency management
  • Forming a new partnership with local government
  • Developing pilot Adaptation Action Plans for the health and human services, agriculture and water sectors
  • Embedding climate change adaptation in government operations, policies and plans
  • Taking a regional approach to adaptation planning.

The Adaptation Plan will help sustain a thriving natural environment and make sure Victoria is a healthy, prosperous, safe and vibrant place to live, work and play. 

Melbourne Resilience Strategy

Melbourne’s first resilience strategy was endorsed by the City of Melbourne’s Future Melbourne Committee on 17 May 2016. Developed with the support of 100 Resilient Cities – pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) – the strategy sets out a series of distinct, yet connected, actions that will help make Melbourne a viable, sustainable, liveable and prosperous city, today and long into the future. Further information can be found here: