The MAV is calling for more transparency in planning reforms. 

Victoria’s planning minister Richard Wynne has been taking on new powers, approvals and oversight over the state’s planning system.

Some see it as a reduction in the power of local authorities, stripped in order to expedite the development process for state projects including the Homes Victoria public housing renewal scheme and the Suburban Rail Loop. 

The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has issued a warning on the ongoing reforms and growing power of the minister. 

“Councils across Victoria have noted an alarming lack of open consultation with councillors and their communities,” the lobby said in a statement this week. 

“There is genuine concern that the voice of the community, which has a rightful place in directly shaping the places and places where they live, may be lost.”

The Victorian Government’s Planning and Building Approvals Process Review outlined its case for reform at all levels of government in a pragmatic manner.

The MAV says it was pleased to see the report consider the actual challenges and experience of councils in navigating our current planning framework.

“Importantly, what the report did not recommend is a watering-down of council and community input into planning,” said MAV president Cr David Clark. 

“The concern for communities across the state is the Victorian Government’s consistent and deliberate moves to take planning decisions away from Councils.

“A prime example of this happening even before any major reforms was the amendment to make the Planning Minister responsible for the Battery Energy Storage Systems at Hazelwood in the Latrobe Valley.

“Often under the guise of ‘pandemic recovery’, this approach puts aside longer-term community aspirations, often already outlined in councils individual planning schemes.

“Our planning system should not be overhauled for short-term economic benefit.”