Surf Coast Shire Planning Scheme Review

Submissions closing on 29 December 2023, 11:59 PM

birds eye view of coastal town

About the Project

A Planning Scheme Review (PSR) is a ‘health check’ of the planning scheme in order to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the scheme in achieving the objectives of planning in Victoria. 

We’ve undertaken a comprehensive review of the Surf Coast Planning Scheme and the findings indicate that the scheme is generally robust, and the council’s statutory planning processes are performing well.

The review has identified improvements to the planning scheme that can be implemented via a planning scheme amendment, further strategic work and advocacy opportunities. The key further strategic work recommendations include to: 

  • Plan for and improve resilience to climate change and other environmental risks.
  • Finalise the Urban Futures Strategy to determine how growth will be accommodated in the municipality.
  • Subject to the outcomes of the Urban Futures Strategy undertake further strategic work in Winchelsea and Torquay, consistent with the Statement of Planning Policy (DAL). 
  • Review and consider refinements to the planning controls for coastal townships from Anglesea to Lorne, to ensure the right balance between preserving significant landscapes, preferred character outcomes and managing bushfire risk.
  • Undertake infrastructure planning in response to planned growth. 

RedInk (Planning Consultants) have prepared a Planning Scheme Review Consultation Report(PDF, 1MB), which is now released to the community for consultation.

How to get involved

We want to hear from our community at this stage to provide feedback on the PSR Consultation Report.

Community engagement: Monday 30 October to Friday 29 December 2023.

  • Ask questions in person at a drop-in information session (Torquay, Aireys Inlet or Winchelsea)
  • Complete the online survey
  • Make a submission 

For all other enquiries, contact the Strategic Planning Team directly at or alternatively call 5261 0600.

Find out more about the Urban Futures Strategy...

The Planning Scheme Review and the Urban Futures Strategy are inter-related projects. To find out more, view the FAQ section below or click here to visit the Urban Futures Strategy project page.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are we undertaking a Planning Scheme Review?

Section 12B of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 requires a planning authority to regularly review the provisions of the planning scheme. 

What is the Planning Scheme Review?

A planning scheme review is essentially a ‘health check’ of the planning scheme.

The scope of a planning scheme review is established under Section 12(B) and planning scheme reviews should focus on:

  • The effectiveness and efficiency of the planning scheme in achieving the objectives of planning and the planning framework in Victoria.
  • Aligning the planning scheme with the Ministerial Direction on the Form and Content of Planning Schemes.
  • Ensuring the planning scheme contains a clear narrative about the way use and development of land will be managed to achieve the planning vision or objectives of the area.

More information about the planning scheme review process can be found in Planning Practice Note 32 at:

When is a planning scheme review required?

The review must be undertaken no later than one year after it is required to approve the Council Plan.

A review was due to commence in 2018, however due to the State Government led projects that were underway, including the Planning Policy Framework and Distinctive Area and Landscapes, it was determined that the review should be delayed given the potential for these projects to impact on the planning scheme.

Benefits of a review?

Some of the benefits of undertaking the review include:

  • Improving the performance of the planning scheme and strengthening its strategic objectives to satisfy the requirements of section 12B of the Act.
  • Streamlining planning processes.
  • Reducing the complexity of processes.
  • Identifying unnecessary permit requirements.
  • Complying with Best Value reporting.

What has informed the Planning Scheme Review consultation report?

The Surf Coast Shire engaged a consultant (Redink Planning) to undertake a review of the planning scheme and prepare a report. The process has included the following detailed analysis:

  • An audit of each local provision in the planning scheme which compared the drafting and application against the Ministerial Direction on the Form and Content of Planning Schemes, a Practitioner’s Guide to Victoria's Planning Schemes (Version 1.5, April 2022) and relevant planning practice notes.
  • An audit of local and regional strategies and policies that have been completed since the last planning scheme review has also been done.
  • Planning permit activity.
  • VCAT decisions.
  • Planning panel recommendations.

Input has been sought from Councillors, council staff and external stakeholders including referral authorities. Feedback received through a series of community workshops on coastal character in Anglesea, Aireys Inlet and Lorne, held in February and March 2023 has also informed the findings in the consultation report.  

What opportunity will the community have to be involved in the Planning Scheme Review?

The community have an opportunity to be involved in the Planning Scheme Review prior to the Council adopting a final report through release of a consultation report.

This stage of engagement is informing the community of the content of the PSR and seeking input on the priorities. It will include a dedicated page on the website incorporating all relevant documents, a survey to seek high level input, three general information sessions in Torquay, Winchelsea and Aireys Inlet and targeted engagement with key community groups. Submissions will also be received for those wanting to provide more detailed comment. The feedback received will be reported to the Council and considered as part of adopting the final Planning Scheme Review Report.

Council is very keen to seek input from the community on the strategic work priorities identified in the consultation report. These priorities set the strategic workplan for the next 5-10 years and the community are encouraged to provide feedback.

Should the Council adopt a final report and seek to implement the findings through a planning scheme amendment, the community will have a further opportunity to participate by making a submission to the planning scheme amendment. 

How does the Planning Scheme Review relate to the Urban Futures Strategy?

The Planning Scheme Review consultation report and the Urban Futures Strategy Background Context Report have been released together to the community as they are inter-related projects.

The Planning Scheme Review includes recommendations on further strategic work and includes the Urban Futures Strategy as a key priority.  

The Urban Futures Strategy will guide urban growth in the Surf Coast Shire to meet the housing needs of future populations and will identify where growth will occur and not occur into the future. 

Click here to find out more about the Urban Futures Strategy.

How does the Planning Scheme Review relate to the Surf Coast Statement of Planning Policy (DAL)?

The Surf Coast Statement of Planning Policy and the Planning Scheme Review are separate and distinct projects. The Planning Scheme Review consultation report acknowledges the Surf Coast Statement of Planning Policy (DAL) and identifies that it will have significant implications for Council’s existing settlement planning and strategic work program. 

Please visit the Engage Victoria website to find out more about the DAL: