Significant changes to planning schemes in Victoria in relation
to wind energy facilities were gazetted on Tuesday 15 March 2011.
These changes were foreshadowed earlier in the month by the
Victorian Coalition government and implement Coalition election
Amendment VC78 to the Victoria Planning Provisions and all
Victorian planning schemes (Amendment) changes the general policy
settings in relation to wind energy facilities, the specific
standards used to assess proposals for such facilities, application
requirements, and the decision maker for applications for wind
Specifically, the Amendment amends:
Clause 19.01 of the State Planning Policy Framework to promote
greater consideration of the effects of a Wind energy facility
proposal on the local community.
Clause 52.32 - Wind energy facility to:
include an additional application requirement for:
a plan showing all dwellings within two kilometres of a
a concept plan showing associated transmission infrastructure,
electricity utility works and access roads.
replace the 1998 New Zealand Standard - NZS6808 with the new
introduce transitional arrangements that exempt pre-existing
planning permits for a Wind energy facility from any obligation
under the new provisions forming part of this amendment for a 12
Clause 61.01 to remove the Minister's decision-making
powers regarding wind energy facilities, making the council the
responsible authority for all planning permit applications for the
use and development of land for the purpose of a Wind energy
Clause 81.01 to introduce the Policy and Planning Guidelines
for Development of Wind Energy Facilities in Victoria, March 2011
as an incorporated document and referencing the updated document in
Clauses 19.01 and 52.32.
(Explanatory Report for the Amendment)
The new Planning Guidelines for Development of Wind Energy
Facilities in Victoria, March 2011 are not publicly available
at the time of writing.
As a result of the Amendment, Victorian wind farm planning
policy is considerably more focused on local amenity. The new noise
standards are stricter than those being replaced, and it seems
likely that the new Planning Guidelines will be more onerous than
The Coalition's wind farm election policy included
prohibiting turbines within 2km of a dwelling except where there is
an agreement in place between the resident and the wind farm
developer. The Amendment has not implemented this policy,
although the Planning Guidelines may encourage or require such an
In terms of transitional arrangements, where the following
applications are made before 15 March 2012 in relation to a permit
for a Wind energy facility that was issued before 15 March 2011,
the pre-Amendment version of clauses 19.01-1, 52.32, 61.01 and
An application under section 69 for an extension of time under
An application to a responsible authority for an amendment of a
An application to the Tribunal to cancel or amend a
An application to the Tribunal for review arising from one of
the above applications (clause 52.32-4).
Any extension of time of a permit granted pursuant to these
transitional arrangements must specify an expiry date for the
commencement of the development no later than 15 March 2012 (clause
It is envisaged that local councils will be provided with
assistance to carry out their new roles, and that complex and
cross-municipality projects may still be decided by the Minister.
The potential for Ministerial call-ins of permit applications
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