Elevating ESD Targets Planning Policy Amendment

Victorian councils are collaborating on a joint planning scheme amendment to elevate the Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD) targets for new development.  

This exciting project demonstrates collaborative local government leadership in the pursuit of zero carbon and resilient built form.

Project Background

A group of CASBE member councils, led by Moreland and Yarra City Councils are pursuing a planning scheme amendment that builds on the existing local ESD Policies held by numerous Victorian Councils. The project aims to deliver revised and elevated ESD targets, including targets for zero carbon development.  

This work supports CASBE’s Strategic Goal to elevate targets for new development, as well as the goals of the Cities of Moreland and Yarra for zero carbon Planning Schemes.


In 2017 CASBE member councils committed to the strategic goal of raising Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD) targets in planning.

Work on the CASBE Elevating Targets project commenced in 2018 

City of Moreland 

Moreland City Council aims to achieve zero carbon targets within the Planning Scheme to improve environmental planning outcomes within the municipality.

The initiative aims to support Moreland City Council’s Zero Carbon 2040 Framework and Action Plan, address Council motions and executive decision making, as well as, deliver upon a statutory climate change pledge made under the Climate Change Act 2017 (Vic).

Key focus areas include:

  • Better roofs to support new development committing to the installation of solar photovoltaic systems and address the uptake of green infrastructure that reduces the urban heat island effect.
  • Zero waste infrastructure and design guidance to target zero waste to landfill by 2030.
  • Future proofing buildings for electric charging infrastructure.

Further information here.

City of Yarra 

Through the adoption of its first Climate Emergency Plan, Yarra City Council committed to working with local and state government partners to amend the planning scheme to introduce zero carbon standards for new commercial and residential developments.

Yarra is a key CASBE member working with partner councils to develop a zero carbon development framework and build a strong evidence-base and strategic justification for zero carbon building standards.

Yarra Council and partner councils continue to engage with the state and federal government policy makers and the planning and development sectors around this work. Yarra has also developed local case studies of zero carbon developments. Further information here.

 Project history 

Considerable collaborative effort was undertaken in 2020 by a number of CASBE councils to develop a set of revised ESD policy objectives and standards as a part of an improved zero carbon planning scheme that delivers healthy, sustainable and resilient buildings. All CASBE member councils were invited to be a part of this process.  An initial draft set of objectives and standards were reviewed by member councils in November 2020.  

Progress in 2021 

Feedback from member councils has been considered and incorporated into a revised set of objectives and standards. A further review of this work is underway with the view to framing the proposed standards in an appropriate format for inclusion in the planning scheme. 

The next stage of the work entails the preparation of a draft amendment and background evidence.

Victorian councils are invited to formally participate in this project through CASBE.  

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’) 

Where possible CASBE works with and engages DELWP staff.

We are committed to providing regular updates to DELWP on the joint council project.

We are of the view that it is important to progress the Elevating ESD Targets Planning Policy Amendment alongside the DELWP ESD Roadmap for the following reasons: 

  • Timing of any gazettal of state wide policy remains uncertain with the ultimate decision resting with the Minister for Planning 
  • The objectives and targets drafted by CASBE councils can be designed to deliver ESD outcomes that directly align with councils’ strategic goals and climate commitments.   

Triptych Apartments Green Wall, Fytogreen. Photo City of Melbourne.

Project details

The joint project work is proposed in 2 stages: 

Stage 1 – Develop and finalise the evidence base for proposed Objectives and Standards. 

Stage 2 – Planning Scheme Amendment Process 

Stage 1 – Develop and finalise the evidence base for proposed objectives and standards.  

Stage 1 entails the preparation of a draft amendment and background evidence, including: 

  • Finalising the revised and elevated ESD policy objectives and standards 
  • Undertaking a peer and legal review of the revised and elevated ESD objectives and standards
  • Undertaking cost benefit, technical feasibility and viability analyses to support the justification for revised and elevated ESD objectives and standards.

Stage 2 – Planning Scheme Amendment Process 

The second stage involves the amendment process itself. This will be conducted as a group amendment, similar to the one undertaken by the six councils who collaborated on the original local ESD Policy. 

Further information

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

Junglefy Breathing Wall. Photo City of Melbourne