State & local planning policy

We believe sustainable built environments can be supported and strengthened by effective planning policy.

Weaving sustainable built environment targets through a number of policy areas provides better support for planners in negotiating sustainability outcomes with applicants. This can be achieved through:

  • State planning policy frameworks
  • Local policy planning frameworks – ESD Policy
  • Geographic policies
  • Municipal planning strategies (MPS)
  • Councils’ strategic plans

Victorian Planning System

The planning system in Victoria operates under the Planning and Environment Act 1987, the framework for planning the use, development and protection of land in Victoria in the present and long-term interests of all Victorians. 

This page includes information about sustainability in the planning system in Victoria. For more information about how the planning system works more broadly, see the Victorian Government ‘Guide to Victoria’s Planning System‘.

Planning & Environment Act

Sustainability is fundamental to the Planning & Environment Act. Under the Act, the objectives of planning in Victoria are:

(a) to provide for the fair, orderly, economic and sustainable use, and development of land;
(b) to provide for the protection of natural and man-made resources and the maintenance of ecological processes and genetic diversity;
(c) to secure a pleasant, efficient and safe working, living and recreational environment for all Victorians and visitors to Victoria;
(d) to conserve and enhance those buildings, areas or other places which are of scientific, aesthetic, architectural or historical interest, or otherwise of special cultural value;
(e) to protect public utilities and other assets and enable the orderly provision and co-ordination of public utilities and other facilities for the benefit of the community;
(f) to facilitate development in accordance with the objectives set out in paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e);
(fa) to facilitate the provision of affordable housing in Victoria;
(g) to balance the present and future interests of all Victorians.

Victorian Planning Provisions & Planning schemes

The planning scheme for each municipality is a legal document, prepared and approved under the PE Act. It contains state and local planning policies, zones and overlays and other provisions that affect how land can be used and developed.

The PE Act also provides for the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP) – a template document of standard state provisions for all planning schemes to be derived from.

Sustainability is referenced throughout the VPPs, and therefore the planning schemes of all Victorian councils. It is also within local policies, zones and overlays in individual schemes.

Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD) Planning Policy

Many Victorian councils have a specific Environmentally Sustainable Design policy in their planning schemes. The policies are typically the same in each Council except for minor differences in the size and scale of development which triggers the policy.

A list of local ESD Policies can be found below.  A summary of the triggers in each of the policies can be found here.


Planning Policy Framework (PPF) Translations

Since 2018 the Victorian Government has led a process of translating and integrating local policies into the Victorian Planning Policy Framework.

For councils with ESD policies who have completed the PPF translation process – the ESD policy is now referenced at Clause 15.01-2.

Local ESD Policies

Banyule – 15.01-2L.02 (Originally gazetted 19 November 2015)

Bayside – 15.01-2L-02 (Gazetted 17 November 2023)

Brimbank – 15.01-2L-02 (Originally gazetted 18 October 2018)

Darebin – 15.01-2L-01 (Original gazetted 31 August 2017)

Frankston – 15.01-2L-01 (Originally gazetted 26 May 2022)

Glen Eira – 15.01-2L-01 (Gazetted 20 April 2023)

Greater Bendigo 15.01-2L (Originally gazetted 18 October 2018)

Greater Dandenong – 22.06 (Originally gazetted 18 October 2018)

Greater Geelong – 15.01-2L (Originally gazetted 17 October 2019)

Hepburn – 15.01-2L (Originally gazetted 10 February 2022)

Hobsons Bay – 15.01-2L-04 (Originally gazetted 18 October 2018)

Hume – 15.01-2L-03 (Originally gazetted 11 November 2021)

Kingston- 15.01-2L (Originally gazetted 18 October 2018)

Knox – 22.04 (Originally gazetted 14 December 2017)

Manningham – 15.01.-2L-01 (Originally gazetted 31 August 2017)

Maroondah – 15.01-2L-01 (Originally gazetted 7 April 2022)

Merri-bek – 15.01-2L-05 (Originally gazetted 19 November 2015)

Monash – 15.01-2L-02 (Originally gazetted 29 September 2016)

Moonee Valley – 15.01-2L-02 (Originally gazetted 19 June 2020)

Mornington Peninsula 15.01-2L (Originally gazetted  24 August 2023)

Port Phillip – 15.01-2L-02 (Originally gazetted 19 November 2015)

Stonnington – 15.02-1L-02 (Originally gazetted 19 November 2015)

Whitehorse – 22.10 (Originally gazetted 19 November 2015)

Whittlesea – 15.01-2L (Originally gazetted 18 October 2018)

Wyndham – 15.01-2L-01 (Originally gazetted 18 October 2018)

Yarra – 15.01-2L-01 (Originally gazetted 19 November 2015)

Yarra Ranges – 15.01-2L (originally gazetted 2 December 2022)

Other local policies with ESD requirements

Maribyrnong Clause 21.06 (Originally gazetted 15 September 2011)

Melbourne – 15.01-2L-01 (Originally gazetted 4 April 2013)

Mildura Clause – 15.01-2S (Originally gazetted 17 November 2016)

Water Sensitive Urban Design Policies

Some councils also have Water Sensitive Urban Design Policies:

Bayside – 19.03-3L-02 (Originally gazetted 25 September 2014)

Kingston – 19.03-3L-02 (Originally gazetted 31 October 2019)

Melbourne – 19.03-3L (Originally gazetted 29 January 2015)

Moonee Valley – 19.03-3L (Originally gazetted 13 March 2014)

Port Phillip – 19.03-3L (Originally gazetted 13 March 2014)

Stonnington – 19.03-3L-02 (Originally gazetted 13 March 2014)

Yarra – 22.16 (Originally gazetted 13 March 2014)