Elevating ESD Targets Planning Policy Amendment

Councils from across Victoria have joined forces to push for more sustainable design within planning requirements. On 21 July 2022, 24 councils lodged a planning scheme amendment with the State Government, seeking to introduce planning policy that elevates sustainability requirements for new buildings and encourages a move towards net zero carbon development.

Project Background

A group of CASBE member councils are working on Stage 2 of a two-stage process that aims to build on the existing local Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD) Policies held by numerous Victorian Councils and deliver revised and elevated ESD targets for new development, including targets for zero carbon development.   

Stage 1 of the project involved developing an evidence base for change. Victorian councils collaborated on a research project that involved a technical feasibility and viability analyses, a cost benefit analyses and a peer and legal review of the revised ESD policy objectives and standards.   

Stage 2 involves twenty-four Victorian councils, supported by the Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment (CASBE) and the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), seeking an amendment to the Victorian planning scheme to elevate sustainability requirements for new buildings. The goal of the project is to better protect the natural environment, reduce resource and energy consumption, and support the health and wellbeing of future occupants. 

Under the proposed changes, new developments would: 

  • Produce net zero carbon emissions. 
  • Reduce household bills by making buildings more energy efficient. 
  • Provide a healthier and more comfortable environment for building occupants. 
  • Better manage water quality, use and collection. 
  • Protect and enhance greening and biodiversity. 
  • Be more resilient to changing climate impacts. 

In March 2023, CASBE wrote to the new Minister for Planning Sonia Kilkenny MP to progress a discussion on the Elevating ESD Targets Project, including timelines for the amendment going forward, and future opportunities for collaboration between state and local government on sustainability in planning. 

This exciting project demonstrates collaborative local government leadership in the pursuit of resilient and zero-carbon buildings and urban places. The 24 councils involved are members of CASBE and represent approximately half the Victorian population and planning activity. By working together councils are able to share costs and knowledge and provide clarity and consistency for the development community. 

This work supports CASBE’s Strategic Goal to elevate Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD) targets in planning.

Related work

City of Melbourne Amendment C376 (Sustainable Building Design) 

We would like to acknowledge the significant work that City of Melbourne has already undertaken with Amendment C376. The City of Melbourne’s leadership has significantly informed the Elevating Targets project. 

The proposed Elevating ESD Targets Planning Scheme Amendment project and City of Melbourne’s Amendment C376 are mutually supportive. They both aim for innovative and impactful planning policy that delivers resilient and zero carbon development. 

The CASBE Elevating Targets project has involved an extensive consultative process with member councils, including the City of Melbourne, in an effort to deliver strategic outcomes for a broad group of councils.  

DELWP ‘Environmentally sustainable development of buildings and subdivisions: A  Roadmap for Victorian Planning System’ (‘ESD Roadmap’) 

CASBE congratulates the government on Planning Scheme Amendment VC216 that strengthens consideration of water management, cooling and greening, air and noise pollution and recycling and resource recovery in the Victorian Planning system. We acknowledge the addition of the consideration of climate change into the purpose of Victoria Planning Provisions and all planning schemes. 

Where possible CASBE works with and engages DELWP staff. We are committed to providing regular updates to DELWP on the Elevating ESD Targets Planning Project.  

After the State Government’s recent implementation of Stage 1 of its ESD Roadmap (by creating new planning policy objectives), the councils view this amendment as the next step in improving ESD requirements with detailed, measurable targets that will deliver meaningful outcomes in practice. 

Stage 2 Project partners

Ballarat City Council

Banyule City Council

Bayside City Council

Boroondara City Council

Darebin City Council

Frankston City Council

Glen Eira City Council

Greater Bendigo City Council

Greater Dandenong City Council

Greater Geelong City Council

Hobsons Bay City Council

Knox City Council

Maribyrnong City Council

Mitchell Shire Council

Moonee Valley City Council

Moreland City Council

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council

Port Phillip City Council

Stonnington City Council

Strathbogie Shire Council

Warrnambool City Council

Whitehorse City Council

Whittlesea City Council

Yarra City Council

Further information

MAV Media Release (21/07/2023) – 1 year on, 24 Councils still waiting on Minister

Please read our July 2022 Community Update here.

For more information about this project please contact casbe@mav.asn.au