Minister for Planning media release 5 May 2015.
The Andrews Labor Government is getting on with clearing the backlog of development applications that accumulated under the previous Liberal Government after it slashed almost a quarter of the workforce from the responsible department.
There are currently 26 Central City Permit applications under assessment within the department – equivalent to a year’s work – along with 150 planning scheme amendments which are yet to be finalised.
The Labor Government will provide $1 million to work through the backlog of applications so developers can get on with the job and maintain a pipeline of work for the construction industry.
The 2015-16 Victorian Budget includes $50 million for the Stronger Regional Communities Plan to allow councils to efficiently and expertly make decisions on complex planning applications. The funds will be directed to Rural Councils Victoria.
The Budget also provides $1 million to shield Melbourne’s iconic Yarra River against inappropriate development. A dedicated trust will be established to set out tough planning controls to preserve the future of the 240 kilometre long river and help it recover from 180 years of misuse.
The Yarra Protection Bill will also be introduced to establish clear rules around what can and cannot be built near the river, drawing on expert advice and input from the public.
First steps will include a discussion paper based on conversations with the community and an action plan to determine the river’s long term needs.
State-significant heritage places will be audited as part of the $150,000 Living Heritage grant. About 450 places and objects would be assessed to flag any at-risk assets needing further protection.
The Labor Government is already delivering on its commitment to improve planning transparency by publicly releasing the documents informing planning decisions for developments over 25,000 square metres.
The Budget delivers on the Labor Government’s promise to maintain and enhance Melbourne’s liveability.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne
“The Andrews Labor Government is getting on with clearing the backlog of planning applications left by the previous Liberal Government.”
“Certainty in the planning system is good for business, good for jobs and good for Victoria.”
“Measures to protect our heritage treasures and planning rules to stop inappropriate development are essential to protecting our state’s character.”