Things to look out for in 2017

As we approach mid-February and the Christmas break begins to feel like a distant memory, it’s time to start thinking about what 2017 has in store for the planning world. There’s plenty in the pipeline to get our heads around so to help you keep up to date here’s a summary of just a few of the things to look out for.


The highly anticipated BADS were released in their entirety in December 2017 (read our summary here), along with an introduction date of March 2017. The Department has also released a Public Consultation Report, detailing how the BADS were amended in response to feedback on the draft. This report includes some interesting commentary on some of the changes that were made between the draft and final version of the BADS, such as the removal of numerical building setback requirements and the removal of the light courts standard.

How the guidelines will be interpreted by Councils or VCAT will be the challenge for the industry moving forward and there will no doubt be some interesting VCAT decisions arising in 2017 that will give some guidance on the interpretation of the different objectives and standards and when a variation is considered appropriate.

The Better Apartment Design Standards can be found here.

Robbie McKenzie (Senior Associate) and Colleen Peterson (Managing Director) will be hosting a series of workshops in the coming weeks to help educate our clients and their architects on the implication of the BADS.  Those of you interested in attending, please contact Timea Toth on [email protected] to register your interest.


The Smart Planning Program has been introduced in response to the growing complexity and inefficiency of Victoria’s Planning System, with the objective to make the system more efficient.

With the last major review held over 20 years ago, the Smart Planning Program aims to utilise technology to create a more accessible and simplified system. Interestingly, the Program also aims to improve state-wide consistency in the application of zones and overlays to reduce repetition, limit permit triggers and increase investment certainty. This opens up the potential for significant changes to the structure of planning schemes and the application of planning policy.

More information on the program can be found here.

Ratio will keep our clients up to date on the review in upcoming newsletters as information comes to hand.


Amendment GC45 to the Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Port Phillip and Stonnington planning schemes was gazetted on 5 January 2017 facilitating the construction of the 9km rail tunnel between South Kensington and South Yarra - shown in the attached map.

While the consultation process is over, there are new Design and Development Overlays in place that may impact development in affected areas.  Get in touch with us if you have a proposal that you think could be impacted.  

The Minister for Planning has also released his assessment of the project which can be read in full here


Transport for Victoria (TfV) is a new transport agency that will bring together the planning, managing and coordinating of Victoria's transport system and its agencies, including combining VicRoads and Public Transport Victoria (PTV). Our understanding is that this change will provide for one point of contact when applications are referred to these authorities, which we anticipate will provide for a more streamlined approach to the referral system.


Version 1.5 of the Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard (BESS), which is a common tool used to assess ESD through the planning process, will go live on 20 February 2017. While many of the changes to the BESS software relate its useability, there will be changes that provide different score criteria for different types of buildings (e.g. dwellings, retail).

We expect to learn how these changes affect the assessment of applications in the coming weeks and whether it results in improved assessment of applications.  Stay tuned for more feedback.



This article was originally published on Ratio Consultants' website. Read the original article here.

Lead image: Zero2Sixty


1 comment

Gary Buck's picture

Bit of a typo in para 2...should be December 2016 not 2017

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