The Victorian Coalition Government has committed $1 million to tackle the backlog of planning cases before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).


Planning Minister Matthew Guy said the funding would enable approximately 800 cases to be finalised and reduce the waiting list by up to six months.


“This funding will significantly reduce delays in the planning process and ease the burden on the development sector, local councils and the community as a whole.


“For those applications where projects are approved by VCAT, the result will be a boost for jobs and the construction industry at precisely the time we are looking for continued economic activity here in Victoria,” Mr Guy said.


“Furthermore, a number of these outstanding cases directly affect Victorian families who have applications for dwellings and extensions in limbo. This funding will remove much of the stress and angst for these families, not to mention cost arising from delay and uncertainty.”


There have been big increases in the number of cases being lodged at VCAT in recent years.  In 2010-11 alone VCAT received 3,775 cases, a 13 per cent increase from 2009-10, and a total value in excess of $7 billion.


In the first six months of 2011-12 there has been a nine per cent increase in the number of cases.

As a result, there are currently 1,824 cases pending worth approximately $3 billion dollars, while 197 cases which are ready to be heard face an eight month delay.


“Eighty per cent of cases currently on the Planning and Environment List have been waiting at least six months to be heard, and without today’s initiative were likely to wait a further six months before a hearing date was confirmed,” Mr Guy said.


The initiative follows the Government’s reinstatement of the Major Cases List at VCAT. As part of the reform, Mr Guy will establish a working group comprising members of VCAT and departmental officers to review long term funding options and other possible reforms.


The Queensland Government has released its Queensland Renewable Energy Plan (QREP) 2012, following a  review of the original plan first launched in 2009. 

NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services Andrew Stoner has announced the appointment of Steve Toms as the State’s first Cross Border Commissioner.

The NSW Treasurer, Mike Baird, has released his economic update for January, warning that the state faces economic uncertainty.

The New South Wales Treasurer Mike Baird has announced that the indicative bid phase for the $1.2 billion long-term lease of the Sydney Desalination Plant (SDP) has prompted a strong response.

The NSW Minerals Council has claimed that the minerals industry is playing a significant part in bolstering the NSW state economy.

The NSW Police Force will take over security for the entire public transport network under a new dedicated Police Transport Command.

The NSW Government has introduced legislation into Parliament overturning the ban on uranium exploration in NSW.

The latest population projections for Western Australia show that by 2026, the state’s population will grow to 3,061,000 with the Perth and Peel region projected to be between 2,275,000 and 2,356,000. 

The Tasmanian Treasurer and Premier Lara Giddings has released the latest Progress Report on the Government’s savings strategies.

Queensland has become the first state to sign up to the newly strengthened regulatory framework for coal seam gas and large coal mining developments.

The Victorian Premier’s Business Roundtable has met to discuss a range of issues relating to the state economy, with special attention paid to the business sector.

The Victorian Coalition Government will invest $3.3 million to boost participation rates in vocational and higher education and grow jobs in the state's north-east.

Western Australian State Government employees will be able to choose their super fund from March 30, 2012, following sweeping reforms made last year to the State Superannuation Act 2000.

The South Australian Government has released a discussion paper on the recommendations developed by the Resources & Energy Sector Infrastructure Council (RESIC) to promote growth of the South Australian minerals and energy sector.

South Australian Planning Minister John Rau has announced that the State Government will respond to increasing community concerns over urban sprawl in the Barossa and McLaren Vale regions by introducing measures to constrain further development.

The Victorian Government has passed the City of Greater Geelong Amendment bill 2011, which will see the people of Greater Geelong directly elect their mayor at the 2012 local government elections.

The Tasmanian Premer, Lara Giddings, has welcomed the decision by New Zealand billionaire Richard Chandler to invest $150 million in Gunns Limited, saying it was "a sign that Tasmania is well and truly open for business”.

The Federal Government has announced all senior appointments to the New South Wales Regional Development Australia (RDA) fund.

Alcoa has announced it is conducting a review of the viability of its Point Henry aluminium smelter in Geelong, placing increasing uncertainty on the future of the plant’s 600 staff. The company has yet to rule out extensive job cuts in its Victorian operations.

Federal Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten has accused the Victorian government of deliberately frustrating progress on the national occupational health and safety harmonisation initative.

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