Victorian LSC News - July 2020

June 29, 2020


Land Use Victoria New Customer Information Bulletin

Land Use Victoria's Customer Information Bulletin Issue 204 (June 2020) is now online available at via the Menu button at the top right corner of the page).

CIB Issue 204 contains information for all L.U.V customers and Subscribers on the following:

  • Lodging and search fees from 1 July 2020 - no change
  • Water Register prescribed fees from 1 July 2020 – no change
  • Generic residual document ‘Record – Notice – Transfer of Land Act – Section 104’ – nomination of Certificates of Title
  • COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 and COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Electronic Signing and Witnessing) Regulations 2020
  • State Revenue Office streamlines Duties Online
Permanent Protection for the Yarra River

Late last month, the Victorian Government introduced permanent planning controls to protect the river’s banks and improve water quality. The controls impose mandatory height limits for new developments and apply minimum setbacks along a 240 kilometre stretch of the river between Richmond and Warrandyte to prevent overshadowing.

It replaces interim measures which were introduced three years ago to streamline planning and the patchwork of controls that differed between councils.

The Government will finalise the controls in partnership with the relevant councils – Banyule, Boroondara, Manningham, Nillumbik, Stonnington and Yarra – as well as Melbourne Water.

The planning controls strongly align with the draft Yarra Strategic Plan which aims to bring agencies together to give effect to the community’s long-term vision for the Yarra and support its collaborative management. Community consultation and recommendations from an independent expert panel will be used to finalise Yarra Strategic Plan later in the year.

Planning Scheme Amendments

Amendment GC150 gazetted on 24th June, replaces the existing Small Lot Housing Code incorporated document in the respective Casey, Hume, Melton, Mitchell, Whittlesea and Wyndham Planning Schemes with the new version of the code titled ‘Small Lot Housing Code (Victorian Planning Authority, November 2019)’ to address recurring misinterpretations and provide greater clarity in the incorporated document’s definitions and standards, which result in construction delays, associated additional costs and increased workload for Responsible Authorities required to assess applications that are found to not comply with the Code.

Darebin Planning Scheme Amendment C190

Darebin Planning Scheme Amendment C190 30th June. Extends the expiry date of the Darebin Development Contributions Plan (DCP) by 12 months, to 30 June 2021 and updates references to the Incorporated Document in Schedule 1 to Clause 45.06 and Clause 72.04.

Melbourne Planning Scheme Amendment C389

The Amendment seeks to extend the sunset date within the Schedule 2 of the Development Contributions Plan Overlay Clause 45.06 (DCPO2) which enables the collection of development contributions in the Macaulay Urban Renewal Area for the provision of local and State community facilities and infrastructure. Section 4 of the existing DCPO2 notes that the requirements of the overlay cease to have effect after 30 June 2020. This Amendment seeks to extend this deadline to 30 June 2022. 


COVID-19 and Surveying Work Experience

RMIT University has a long and proud history of providing Surveying and Geospatial students with the opportunity to blend work experience with their studies. This has long been formalised within the Surveying and Geospatial programs. We have also been blessed over the last 40 years to have a strong surveying sector where students and graduates had many opportunities to find suitable employment, and strong support from industry for our programs. Prior to 2020, the RMIT Surveying and Geospatial degree programs required students to complete a minimum of 12 weeks work experience as employment after completion of coursework. This requirement was reduced to 8 weeks if undertaken during studies, in recognition of the benefit of concurrent studies and work experience. This increased the interaction between learning derived from coursework and learning derived from employment.

Providing these work experience opportunities is as important now as ever. There is now a strong focus across all RMIT University programs to offer quality and varied Work Integrated Learning (WIL) opportunities for all students to enhance their employability. Whereas the work experience opportunities were previously only required before graduation, RMIT now expects this WIL experience, and associated assessment tasks to be completed as part of core courses in their program.

In 2020, with the agreement of the program advisory board and the Surveyors Registration Board of Victoria, and based on updated RMIT requirements, the work experience requirements have been replaced with two Work Integrated Learning (WIL) courses of at least 3 weeks each (with a combined total of 6 weeks).  This represents the minimum work experience that students will get during their program; however most students obtain many more hours of employment as they complete their degree. It also has the benefit that all students will complete their work experience before their studies finish which was not always the case with the previous model.

The reduced time in the new work integrated learning courses is compensated by oversight and supervision by both employers and RMIT staff.  These WIL courses emphasise the learning aspects of a workplace placement and involve all parties signing a 3-way contract between the student, employer & RMIT for an agreed work experience project (paid or unpaid internship) with the following requirements:

  • A minimum of 3 weeks experience for each course (6 weeks for both courses)
  • If the placement involves an unpaid internship it cannot be significantly longer than 3 weeks per course (to avoid exploitation of unpaid workers)
  • the work experience placement is overseen by an RMIT academic staff member
  • the student is required to provide a reflective report on the experience and learnings to demonstrate achievement of the course learning outcomes.
  • The employer also provides a brief assessment (comparable to a reference). 
The impact of COVID-19 on work experience and placements

Like all sectors of work, COVID-19 restrictions and the resultant closing of workspaces has had a strong impact on RMIT placements.  While we have anecdotal evidence that some surveying and geospatial students employed as casual staff have had reduced hours or loss of employment, the impacts so far on our WIL course enrolments and placements has been minimal. During this period of transition into the new WIL courses there are only 3 students currently enrolled in these WIL courses doing placements.

However, students still under the pre-2020 work experience system who are looking for more work experience to achieve their 8 or 12 weeks, are experiencing difficulty in finding enough work experience to meet their requirements to graduate. Also, while many students have well established jobs the likely impact of COVID-19 is that job losses will increase over the next 12 to 18 months. If the downturn in survey and geospatial work in the private sector due to COVID-19 continues for longer than expected students will have more difficulty in finding the work experience and placements they need to meet their program requirements.  

Supporting surveying student work experience

RMIT University is always considering ways to improve the quality of work experience and WIL opportunities for all our Surveying and Geospatial Students, especially those who have had trouble finding casual employment in the early stages of their degree. As with the Surveying and Geospatial sector overall, we have learned a lot from our responses to COVID-19. New opportunities have been created for students to undertake “remote” placements away from the office with regular online meetings arranged with the industry partner. This has benefits for some employers. New “virtual” WIL project opportunities are opening up with industry partners providing a project idea and relevant data, with the student working on the project under direction of both industry partners and RMIT staff. These new ways of engaging with industry can suit students who have impediments that prevent them attending a workplace at that time.

Going forward, any opportunities for companies (or government agencies) to provide paid employment are always very welcome. This continues to be the main way that students will gain work experience. While we prefer placements that are paid, some students may be open to unpaid placements for a specific project that provides a high-quality experience opportunity (but only up to the WIL course requirements of 120 hours for each WIL course or 240 hours in total).    

In terms of the type of placements or work experience, we encourage companies to consider other ways to offer meaningful work experience to students. There may be special projects that arise as we rebuild as the COVID-19 restrictions lift, that allow opportunities for students to be involved. For example, a student may help a company prepare for eplan, or incorporate new technologies into the company workflow. Some of this may be undertaken remotely.

In the setting of job losses due to COVID we need to be imaginative in looking for work experience opportunities. Like many sectors, we will think of new and innovative ways of creating these opportunities, arising out of our experiences this year. WIL and work experience can provide students with exciting opportunities to do very interesting projects, or community initiatives, or be involved in large government projects like those connected to the Digital Cadastre Modernisation Project.

Don Grant, David Mitchell, Simon Fuller



The VPA has a key role in bringing permit-ready land to market. As the state faces its biggest economic challenge in 90 years, they are determined to stimulate investment and are looking to work with stakeholders to speed up the planning processes for their projects

Growth outlook

COVID-19 has clearly had a considerable impact on the environment in which most of us work.  While there are some hopeful signs that this is turning around sooner than expected, land sales levels reduced by about 60% across Melbourne’s greenfields in April 2020.

The short to medium term pausing of Net Overseas Migration (NOM) and Net Interstate Migration (NIM) will reduce demand considerably. The VPA, expect this to be a transient impact – Victoria’s economic outlook remains strong and, while commentators vary in their estimates of how long and how severe this impact will be, most expect a return to our long-term average rates of land and housing consumption.

To aid with Victoria’s economic recovery, the VPA is putting together an accelerated work program.

The VPA Board has identified a group of projects that are on the existing VPA work program that can be delivered earlier, or with greater impact, or both.  The program aims to provide certainty for all stakeholders, a pipeline of development for industry and future jobs and homes for Victorians.

The VPA will share the details of their new work program soon.

Streamlining post-PSP approvals

The VPA has recently completed three projects that will enhance the efficiency and outcomes of post-PSP approvals in structure plan areas:

•           Generally in Accordance Guidance Note
•           Growth Area Model Planning Permit Conditions review
•           Small Lot Housing Code update

These projects were funded by the Victorian Government’s Streamlining for Growth program. They are further examples of the value of streamlining post-PSP approvals, enabling industry to deliver better and quicker, and supporting our council partners in their vital work of overseeing the processes that turn a PSP into a community.

Generally in Accordance Guidelines

The Generally in Accordance Guidance Note – April 2020 assists the development industry, planners and referral authorities in interpreting the term ‘generally in accordance’ in the PSP context.

The goal is to ensure that relevant authorities interpret and apply PSP requirements as an enabler and facilitator of innovation, as well as a regulatory backstop to ensure quality standards are met.

At its meeting on 15 April 2020, the VPA Board adopted the Generally in Accordance Guidance Note – April 2020. Find out more and see the new guidance note on the VPA website.

Growth Area Model Planning Permit Conditions review

The purpose of this document is to achieve greater consistency in the structure and wording of conditions attached to growth area subdivision permits.

The document has been prepared to assist responsible authorities, referral authorities and industry professionals operating in Melbourne’s growth areas with the drafting of planning permits and conditions. Planning departments in Melbourne’s Growth Area Councils will be encouraged to use this document to promote a level of consistency in the way planning permits are drafted and efficiently deliver on legislative objectives.

At its meeting on 13 May 2020, the VPA Board adopted the Greenfields Subdivision Permits – A Model Approach May 2020. This document supersedes the 2011 manual. Find out more and access this document on the VPA website.

Small Lot Housing Code Review

You may be aware that the VPA has been working on an update to the Small Lot Housing Code, which has been in place since 2014 and has been very successful in streamlining approvals for housing on smaller lots.

The update refines aspects of the Code to address a number of implementation issues and to increase the scope and impact of the Code. The updated Code was gazetted on 25 June.

The Code is a critically important measure that supports housing diversity, affordability and design quality in PSP areas. To find out more, see the update code on the VPA website.

New Ministers in State Cabinet and what that means for the VPA

While recent changes to Cabinet and portfolios have changed responsibilities for priority precincts, the VPA retains its role as a key source of advice and services in delivering strategic planning in these areas.

The responsibilities of the former Minister for Priority Precincts have now transitioned to a new Minister for Suburban Rail Loop, the Hon Jacinta Allan MP and a new Minister for Business Precincts, the Hon Martin Pakula MP as well as the Minister for Planning. 

This is recognition that the key drivers for growth and change: precincts that will be principally activated by transport investment, and precincts that will be principally activated by economic interventions. This is a very important mechanism for ensuring that the VPA is empowered to provide strategic planning solutions in precincts of state significance and to help ensure a coordinated approach across government.

Single CAD Format to ePlan Conversion Project

In conjunction with the Single CAD format file, Land Use Victoria is in the early stages of developing a CAD Converter tool that enables the conversion of the Single CAD format file to ePlan. The benefits of the conversion process are to streamline the ePlan creation process and pave the way for ePlans to be automatically updated to the Digital Cadastre at the proposed and registered stages. It is planned that the CAD Converter tool will be available for use in early 2021 and automation of updating the Digital Cadastre developed in the Automation Phase of the Digital Cadastre Modernisation project.

In deriving the Single CAD format file, Surveyor-General Victoria and Electronic Subdivisions Unit (ESU) consulted the industry through a reference group of 60+ licensed surveyors, which included a day of workshops and two rounds of feedback.  

This has resulted in:

  1. An agreed Single CAD format file containing requested layers and groupings, which is now finalised (see attached spreadsheet, “Proposed CAD Layers –v3.xlsx”), and  
  2. Format of the CAD file in .dxf (drawing exchange file, using the 2010 version as the baseline)

The following has been considered in implementing the Single CAD format file: 

  1. Update the SPEAR website to include a new Single CAD format file page 
  2. Frequently asked questions and examples of CAD file plans available from the new Single CAD format file page 
  3. Supporting the surveying profession in the adoption of the Single CAD format file
  4. Engaging with surveyors in the use of the Single CAD format file, with provision for feedback that enhances the Single CAD format file.


Land Use Victoria is welcoming feedback on this project, should members have any comment  we invite your feedback to before Friday 24th July.


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