What are the next steps in the process, now that the panel report has been received?

    The Strategic Planning Unit is now working through the Panel’s recommendations and will present the amendments to Council in the coming months for a decision. Council has the option to adopt, adopt in part, or reject the amendment at this point. 

    Council is not bound by the Panel’s recommendations and can make decisions that differ from what the Panel recommends. If Council decides to not accept the Panel's recommendations, clear justification must be provided as to why the Panel’s recommendation is to be departed from.

    Should the amendment be adopted (either completely or in part), it will be submitted to the Minister for Planning, who decides whether or not to approve the amendment. The Minister has 40 business days to make a decision regarding the amendment. 

    If approved, a notice will appear in the Government Gazette and Council will notify all submitters and the broader local community. These new planning controls would come into effect in the Darebin Planning scheme on the day the approval is gazetted. 

    What is the status of the amendment?

    Once the Council has adopted the Amendments in their final format they should be considered as ‘seriously entertained’ and representative of Council’s policy position. As such the Amendments and the controls contained within them could be given greater weight when assessing planning permit applications and in providing justification for decisions at VCAT hearings.  This would be the status until Council received approval from the Minister and formal gazettal takes place.

    What has changed since the documents were exhibited?

    Council has made numerous changes to the exhibited documents in response to submissions and as a result of further work undertaken by Council Officers. To see the particular changes that Council proposed to the panel, please refer to Council’s submission.

    Can I have further input into the process?

    The focus of the next phase of the amendments process is for Council to consider and respond to the Panel recommendations, which have been prepared by the Panel in response to the extensive consultation undertaken by Council and through the panel submission and presentation process. As such, there will be no further formal consultation with submitters for this period of finalising the three amendments. If you made a submission, you will be informed in writing of when the amendment will be presented to Council for a decision. Please check this website for further updates. 

    The Planning and Environment Act 1987 provides the opportunity to appeal a panel’s recommendation if there has been a ‘defect in procedure’. The defect in procedure may relate to the exhibition of the amendment or public submissions made regarding the amendment. If you wish to lodge an appeal, please contact the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Please note that this is a legal process and can be a complex. 

    What is covered in the panel report?

    The Panel Report is a long document that analyses Council’s proposed planning scheme amendments. It considers the merit of what Council has proposed, as well as addressing all the matters that were raised by submitters during the hearings. These are captured in the Executive Summary and recommendations.

    In addition, the Panel provides a detailed discussion and justification of their findings in the body of their report. Some of the more specific topics expanded upon include:
    • Background and issues (i.e. about Darebin, what the Amendments propose, recent changes in State policy);
    • Housing and economic land use direction;
    • Overarching principles for corridors;
    • Specific controls in the Design and Development Overlays;
    • Reservoir Structure Plan;
    • Industrial Precincts;
    • St Georges Road corridor precincts; and 
    • Plenty Road corridor precincts.

    I made a submission at the panel hearing. Where can I find the panel’s response to my concerns?

    The panel report provides detailed discussion of the matters raised in submissions. Most chapters in the report include a section “Evidence and Submissions” where these issues are covered. This is usually followed by the “Discussion” section where the issues are responded to. 

    If your submission relates to St Georges Road (Amendment C136) or Plenty Road (Amendment C137), it will be discussed under the relevant precinct in Chapter 8 or 9. 

    If your submission relates to the Darebin Housing Strategy, the Darebin Economic Land Use Strategy or the revised Municipal Strategic Statement (Amendment C138), it will be discussed in Chapter 3, 4 or 7. 

    What is the Local Planning Policy Framework?

    Planning for a vibrant, growing local community involves a complex, layered structure of related State and Local planning frameworks, policies and provisions.

    The Darebin Planning Scheme is made up of many components. 

    As the diagram shows, most of the Darebin Planning Scheme content is controlled by the State but there are parts that can contain 'Local' content

    The 'Local Planning Policy Framework' section of the scheme is one component that is available for Council to customise to address local planning issues and priorities.  The Municipal Strategic Statement and Local Planning Policies are found in this section of the planning scheme.

    The Municipal Strategic Statement is a critical document in the Darebin Planning Scheme. It sets out our vision for the future we want for Darebin – establishes the objectives we want to achieve – and draws together all the various strategies from a range of planning initiatives into a consolidated statement of how we will proceed.  

    Together with Local Planning Policies, it provides the strategic basis and guiding principles for land use and development planning that is appropriate for Darebin. 

    What will the new MSS achieve?

    The new Darebin Municipal Strategy Statement is grounded in the new Council Plan adopted in June 2013, and draws on an extensive suite of specific, detailed strategies and policies spanning the huge array of issues your city needs to manage.

    It lays out our objectives and strategies across four core areas of activity, with these key goals:

    Protecting and enhancing both our natural and built environments:
    • Managing sensitively the impacts of land use
    • Creating a sustainable, liveable urban environment for residents, workers and visitors
    • Protecting areas of natural, cultural and built heritage value.
    • Effectively managing environmental risk
    Economic Development
    Encouraging greater breadth of opportunity, employment and land use:
    • Developing a commercial office market.
    • Investing in retail, institutional and hospitality sectors
    • Supporting ongoing industrial uses in areas where they are best suited
    • Adapting non-residential land for new uses
    • Converting areas to mixed use where appropriate
    • Facilitating local job growth to match our population growth
    Providing for both ‘a roof over the head’ and enviable quality of life:
    • Balancing the needs of current and future residents
    • Making housing affordable and accessible for all
    • Demonstrating best practice environmental and urban design
    • Ensuring residential development is appropriate to its location and considerate of its context
    • Providing for diverse housing needs and preferences
    Transport & Infrastructure
    Enhancing liveability with good access to transport, services and facilities:
    • Reducing car dependency, congestion and parking pressures and promoting sustainable lifestyles
    • Planning effectively to meet changing needs for transport, essential services, community facilities and open space
    • Ensuring equity of investment across the municipality
    • Promoting urban renewal opportunities

    The new MSS includes extensive detail on how we’re stepping up to the challenge in each of these crucial areas.

    Why do we need a new MSS?

    The Municipal Strategic Statement is essentially a 'living document' and should be continually refined as Council develops and revises its strategic directions in response to the changing needs of the community.

    Darebin, like many other local governments, is grappling with significant change:

    • Sustained population growth and a shift in demographics – putting new and more diverse demands on housing, infrastructure and services.
    • Transition in the local economy – we are moving from a traditional industrial employment base to a more mixed one offering job growth in retail, services and advanced manufacturing sectors.
    • Environmental pressures – calling for new approaches to manage the impact of climate change, conserve resources and ensure a sustainable and liveable community.

    This changing future demands a new set of policy directions and strategies – and a revised Municipal Strategic Statement to articulate and put them all into action. 

    How was the new MSS prepared?

    Council completed a comprehensive review of the existing Darebin Planning Scheme in 2010, and we have been putting in place a number of significant new plans and strategies. The key ones underpinning our new Municipal Strategic Statement are the Darebin Housing Strategy and Darebin Economic Land Use Strategy - both of these strategies are at draft stage and open for public comment.  The Reservoir Structure Plan adopted in August 2012;  and other recent relevant Council strategies such as the Going Places: Darebin Transport Strategy are being brought into the planning scheme for the first time.

    Based on these and a suite of related initiatives, we have drafted, in consultation with Councillors and internal council units, a new and refocused Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS).

    Following community consultation and feedback, the new MSS will be introduced into the Darebin Planning Scheme via Planning Scheme Amendment C138.

    It will set a clear direction for our city’s future: addressing Darebin’s changing demographic and housing needs; strengthening our economic activities and opportunities; tackling our environmental and infrastructure challenges; and providing greater planning certainty for both the community and the development industry.