Planning scheme amendment process

As our municipality changes, Council's strategy and planning controls may also change. These changes must be reflected in the Moreland Planning Scheme.

The Merri-bek Planning Scheme sets out policies and provisions for the use, development and protection of land in our municipality. All land in Merri-bek is affected by the Merri-bek Planning Scheme.

What is a planning scheme amendment?

A change to the planning scheme is known as an amendment. The process for an amendment is set out in the Planning and Environment Act 1987. Common amendments include a change of zone to allow different use of land or the implementation of new Council policy.

Initiating a planning scheme amendment

A planning scheme amendment can be initiated by any planning authority as specified by the Planning and Environment Act 1987. A planning authority is any Minister or agency that has been authorised by the Minister for Planning to prepare amendments. In most cases, the initiating planning authority would be a local Council, but it may be another Minister.

Anyone can ask a planning authority to prepare an amendment. If you do, you must be able to demonstrate to the planning authority (usually the Council) adequate justification as to why an amendment should be prepared. Council has to be certain that the amendment has planning merit and is consistent with the future strategic directions for the municipality.

There is no application form to request a planning scheme amendment. If you want to request an amendment you are encouraged to talk to contact Council for more information about the process.

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning also has more information about planning scheme amendments.

There are fees for requesting a planning scheme amendment. The Planning and Environment (Fees) Regulations 2016 specifies these fees. See Planning scheme amendment fees for details.

Lodging a submission to a proposed planning scheme amendment

As part of the amendment process, the community is consulted on proposed planning scheme amendments.

Anyone can lodge a submission about an amendment.

A submission may support the amendment, oppose the amendment, or suggest changes to the amendment.

The Victorian Government has information on preparing a submission to a planning scheme amendment.

Your submission should be lodged before the closing date of the exhibition of the amendment so you have the opportunity to present your views to a panel (if one is appointed to consider submissions).

Independent panel

An independent panel may be appointed by the Minister for Planning to consider the submissions and the amendment. The panel:

  • reviews the submissions
  • conducts a public hearing
  • considers the amendment, and
  • prepares an independent report with recommendations about the amendment for Council.

After the panel hearing, the panel has 6 - 8 weeks to provide a report to Council with its recommendations on the amendment. Council has no obligation to adopt the panel's recommendations.

Approval process

Once an amendment has gone through all the legal requirements of exhibition and has been adopted by Council, it is submitted to the Minister for Planning for final approval. 

Once the Minister approves the amendment, it then becomes part of the Merri-bek Planning Scheme.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website has a list of approved Merri-bek Planning Scheme Amendments since July 2000.