The Victorian Auditor-General Andrew Greaves has tabled his assessment of the performance of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and councils in managing and implementing the planning system to support the objectives of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and the desired outcomes of state planning policies.

With the state welcoming about 100 000 people a year, pressure on jobs, housing, infrastructure and other services will intensify, and Mr Greaves said the land use and development planning system is one of the key tools used by state and local governments to meet these demands and deliver the state’s priorities for a connected, liveable and sustainable state.

The Auditor-General made a total of six recommendations to the Department:

  1. Ensure its Smart Planning Program improves the planning system.
  2. Strengthen its approach to overseeing and continuously improving the planning system.
  3. Work with councils to improve the way it and councils apply the requirements of the Victoria Planning Provisions.
  4. Introduce a risk-based approach to development assessment processes and guidance materials.
  5. Strengthen accountability requirements for decisions by applying better-practice principles for discretionary decision-making and transparent public reporting, including publishing reasons for all planning decisions, and publishing advisory committee reports within three months of the committee handing its report to the Minister for Planning.
  6. Work with councils to complete the performance measurement framework for the planning system so that it provides the relevant information and data at the state and local levels to assess the effectiveness of the planning system, measure the achievement of planning policies and support continuous improvement of the planning system through monitoring the effectiveness of reforms.