One question I often get asked is whether the Victorian planning system will ever be privatised. Whilst I would be the first to admit that I wouldn’t know the official stance of either of the two major political parties on this matter, it would be a difficult proposition to contemplate that local communities would be willing to relinquish authority over land use planning and development.
Additionally, I would suspect that any state government of any persuasion would want to tread carefully in regards to privatising any part of the planning system, particularly in light of the more recent experience of the building permit system in Victoria which has seen substantial issues arise in regards to the cladding of apartment buildings.
Despite the challenges that lay ahead, the Victorian government have instigated some five years ago the VicSmart application process. What this process essentially attempts to do with varying degrees of success (or otherwise) , is to simplify the planning process for less complicated planning applications, whilst allowing private town planning consultants to do some of the bureaucratic leg work prior to the lodgement of the planning applications whilst minimising the amount of paperwork required.
Whilst privatising the planning system is an unlikely proposition, an expansion of the VicSmart process which would entail the privatisation of the processes that occur in the planning system could be a welcome development particularly in a global economy which will demand efficiencies and innovation moving forward.
If you have a development worth less than $1 million and would like to know more about the VicSmart Planning application process contact Patrick Cauchi of M Plan Planning Consultants on 0432 608 894.