On 29 August 2011, the Victorian Government gazetted Amendment
VC82 (Amendment) which makes significant changes to Victorian
planning schemes in relation to wind energy facilities. These
changes build on amendments made by Amendment VC78 in March 2011
(March Amendment) (See our legal update:
Winds of change: wind farm amendments to Victorian planning
The most significant change is the implementation of the
Coalition's wind farm election policy to prohibit turbines
within 2km of a dwelling. The prohibition is not absolute and
can be lifted where the owner of a dwelling within a 2km radius of
any turbine that forms part of a proposed wind energy facility has
given written consent. This builds on the requirement for
wind energy facility developers to include a plan in its permit
application showing all dwellings within two kilometres of a
proposed turbine which was introduced by the March Amendment.
The Amendment also introduces new "no-go" zones for
wind energy facilities. The wind energy facilities
"no-go" zones now include:
the Mornington Peninsula
the Yarra Ranges
the Bellarine Peninsula
the Great Ocean Road region
land in the Macedon and McHarg Ranges
land within 5km of the coast in the Bass Coast Planning Scheme
and South Gippsland Planning Scheme west of Wilsons Promontory
land within 5km of 22 regional cities (except where a wind
energy facility is integrated as part of the development of the
land where the land is in a residential zone, industrial zone,
business zone or special purpose zone)
land described in a schedule to the National Parks Act
1975 (except where the wind energy facility is to be
principally used to supply electricity to a facility used in
conjunction with conservation, recreation, administration or
accommodation use of the land)
land declared a Ramsar wetland (under section 17 of the
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act
The transitional arrangements set out in clause 52.32-7 are
identical to those provided by the March Amendment namely:
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 version of clauses 19.01-1, 52.32, 61.01
and 81.01 in force before 15 March 2011 will apply to:
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 permit
an application to the Tribunal for review arising from one of
the above applications.
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.
These transitional arrangements do not however apply to planning
permits issued by the Minister. For such planning permits,
applications to amend or to extend a planning permit will be
considered in the context of the new planning scheme requirements.
Prior to March 2011, permit decisions concerning wind energy
facilities with an energy generation capacity over 30MW lay with
the Minister. This represents a large number of approved wind
energy facilities. This means than in practice, many wind
energy facilities will not benefit from the transitional
The Amendment also includes the Policy and Planning
Guidelines for Development of Wind Energy Facilities in Victoria
(August 2011) as a "reference document", confirming
that these guidelines replace the March 2011 Guidelines (See our
Further winds of change: Policy and Planning Guidelines
released). However, whereas the previous guidelines were
an "incorporated document" in all planning schemes, the
status of the new guidelines has now been altered to a reference
document. As a consequence, it may be argued that the new
guidelines should be afforded less weight than the previous
guidelines when assessing an application for permit.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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