Elevating ESD Targets Planning Policy Amendment

Thirty-one Victorian councils and CASBE are collaborating on a joint research project that aims to elevate Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD) targets for new development.

This exciting project demonstrates collaborative local government leadership in the pursuit of resilient and zero-carbon buildings and urban places.

Project Background

A group of CASBE member councils, led by Moreland and Yarra City Councils are working on Stage 1 of a two-stage process that aims to build on the existing local 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 aims to develop an evidence base for:

  • New developments that produce zero net emissions, better manage water and waste, increase greening and biodiversity, and are more resilient to our changing climate.
  • Buildings that provide a healthier, more comfortable environment for our community and improve health outcomes.

This stage will involve undertaking a technical feasibility and viability analyses, a cost benefit analyses and a peer and legal review of the revised ESD policy objectives and standards.  

A future Stage 2 will involve the planning 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. 

The thirty-one Victorian councils and the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), representing the Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment (CASBE), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enable this collaborative effort.

Undertaking the project collaboratively will:

  • Enable shared costs and knowledge for councils.
  • Provide clarity and consistency for the development community.

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 In early 2021 all Victorian Councils were invited to  actively participate in the project. 

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.

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.   

Project partners

Ballarat City Council

Banyule City Council

Bayside City Council

Boroondara City Council

Brimbank City Council

Darebin City Council

Frankston City Council

Glen Eira City Council

Greater Bendigo City Council

Greater Dandenong City Council

Greater Geelong City Council

Greater Shepparton City Council

Hobsons Bay City Council

Hume City Council

Knox City Council

Maribyrnong City Council

Maroondah City Council

Mitchell Shire Council

Moonee Valley City Council

Moreland City Council

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council

Mount Alexander Shire Council

Port Phillip City Council

Stonnington City Council

Strathbogie Shire Council

Warrnambool City Council

Whitehorse City Council

Whittlesea City Council

Wodonga City Council

Wyndham City Council

Yarra City Council

Further information

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

Junglefy Breathing Wall. Photo City of Melbourne