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Our Planning Scheme

Victoria’s planning system is designed to plan for and protect the interests of all Victorians. It covers a broad range of issues that affect the use and development of land.

As part of the planning system, the Planning Scheme governs the use and development of land in Merri-bek. It includes:

  • Council's vision for land use and development in Merri-bek
  • The objectives of planning at a state, regional and local level
  • Zones which explain how properties can be used
  • Zones and Overlays which explain what can be constructed with and without a planning permit. In some Overlay areas a permit is also needed for demolition, earth works, paving and vegetation removal
  • Specific controls which apply to some land uses and types of development

Detailed information on the Victorian Planning System can be found on the Victorian Government's Planning website.

To learn more about the Moreland Planning Scheme you can also:

If you would like more information on how the Planning Scheme applies to your property you can either:

The planning system outlines when and how the public is involved in decision making.

This often includes:

Planning Scheme Background documents

We have a range of documents that can help you understand the planning scheme. Many of these documents are referred to in the scheme, but they are not formally part of it.

Clause 72.08 of the scheme includes a list of documents that:

  • Have informed the preparation of, or an amendment to, the scheme.
  • Provide information to explain the context to a part of the planning scheme.
  • Assist the understanding of this planning scheme.

There are other documents not listed in Clause 72.08 but are referenced in the text.

You can download documents relevant to Merri-bek as well as additional background information in the section below.

Planning scheme review and amendments

The Planning Scheme is a living document. As Merri-bek changes, our strategy and planning controls also change.

Council conducts amendments to parts of the planning scheme each year. Common amendments include a change of zone or the implementation of new policy. Council also reviews the scheme as a whole every four years. The last review was in 2022. You can download the Planning Scheme Review 2022 Report (PDF 1.6MB) to read our findings. The next review will be in 2022.

Information on current amendments can be found on our current amendments page. Information on earlier amendments is located on the Victorian Government's Planning website. This site also includes a list of amendments approved since July 2000.

The planning scheme amendment process

The planning scheme amendment process is set by the Planning and Environment Act 1987. Amendment stages and fees are available in the sections below.

  • Council and the Minister for Planning initiate most planning scheme amendments. They need to be sure that amendments:

    • Have planning merit
    • Are consistent with the future strategic directions for the municipality

    But anyone can ask for changes to the scheme. If you do, you must be able to show why the scheme should be changed and what the changes should look like.

    Council officers will review the amendment. Once they are satisfied with it, it will be reported to Council. The Council will decide whether the amendment will proceed to the authorisation stage.

  • A council must apply to the Minister for authorisation to prepare an amendment.

    The purpose of authorisation is to make sure amendments both:

    • Are consistent with state policy or interests
    • Use the Victorian Planning Provisions appropriately
  • The public consultation part of an Amendment is called Exhibition. The Planning and Environment Act outlines when and how this needs to occur.

    Anyone can lodge a submission about an amendment. A submission may:

    • support the amendment
    • oppose the amendment
    • suggest changes to the amendment

    Chapter 2 of the Victorian Government's Using Victoria's Planning System has information on preparing a submission to a planning scheme amendment. You can find out more about the planning system on the Victorian Government's Planning website.

    Submissions should be provided to Council before the end of exhibition to make sure that you have the opportunity to present your views to a panel if one is appointed.

    After exhibition amendments are considered again by Council before proceeding further.

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

    • reviews the submissions
    • may conduct a public hearing
    • considers the amendment
    • prepares a report with recommendations about the amendment

    After the panel hearing, the Panel has 6 to 8 weeks to provide a report to Council with its recommendations on the amendment.

    After it is received Council will consider the panel’s recommendations and decide whether to adopt:

    • some or all of the panel’s recommendations
    • the amendment unchanged
    • an altered amendment

    It then submits the amendment to the Minister for Planning for final approval. Council can also decide to abandon the amendment.

  • The Minister for Planning considers the adopted amendment. They can:

    • Approve it unchanged
    • Approve it subject to changes
    • Refuse it.

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

  • Statutory Fees

    Planning scheme amendment fees are paid in up to four stages during the amendment process. They are set by the Planning and Environment (Fees) Regulations 2016 and are adjusted at the start of each financial year. Current fees are on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.

    Amendment Administration and Panel Fees

    All costs associated with the administration of a planning scheme amendment are passed on to the proponent. This includes:

    • Public notification expenses. For example, direct mail and notices in newspapers and the Government Gazette.
    • The costs and expenses incurred for or by a panel. The cost of the Panel will depend on the number of days it sits, and the number of Panel Members appointed.

For more information about the process you can:

Please contact us if you would like to request a planning scheme amendment. You can get in touch with us using the details on our Contact us page.