Victoria’s planning system has gone through a major overhaul with the introduction of VicSmart that promises to fast track the planning permit process for minor applications.
The new fast tracked permit process will slash waiting times for home renovators and small businesses from around 40 days to just 10 days.
VicSmart will commence in September, giving councils sufficient time to implement the new fast track permit process for low impact additions such as fences, signs and garages. The three-month transition period will allow further consultation with councils and industry groups, giving councils enough time to make necessary changes to their processes. Information sessions for VicSmart will be held in July and August.
Minister for Planning Matthew Guy explains that VicSmart is a quick and simple process that satisfies both a council's need for policy certainty and an applicant's desire for a faster outcome. Permit applications meeting a set of clear-cut rules will be approved by the council and the permit issued within 10 working days.
Expected to positively impact about 8,500 smaller permit applications a year, VicSmart will also free up huge amounts of time, energy and resources for council planning departments, allowing them to focus on permits that require greater analysis.
According to Mr Guy, the introduction of VicSmart will ensure Victoria's planning system remains the most efficient in the country.
Applications under the new VicSmart system will include realigning common land boundaries and other minor subdivisions; constructing or extending front fences; certain sign displays; car space modifications, minor building and works in heritage areas and buildings; and works up to $50,000 in business and industrial areas.
Streamlined processes will also be introduced at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and Melbourne Water.