Objector - apply for a review of a decision

An objector is a person who lodged an objection with the responsible authority, usually a council, in opposition to a permit application. If you lodged an objection and the responsible authority decides to issue a notice of decision to grant a permit, you may make an application to review the decision of the responsible authority. Make these applications under section 82 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

If, for a good reason, you were unable to lodge an objection with the responsible authority, but you disagree with the authority’s decision to grant a permit, you may be able to apply to VCAT to review the decision. VCAT must give you leave (permission) to make the application. Make these applications under section 82B of the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

Notice of decision to grant a permit

The Notice of Decision to Grant a Permit is sometimes called the NOD or the Notice of Decision.

The Notice of Decision does not have the same legal status as a permit. Instead, it signals the decision to grant the permit and lists any conditions that will be included.

If you are not an objector

If you are not an objector but you are affected by the decision to grant a planning permit you may submit an application to review the decision to VCAT using the same form as for objectors. You must complete part B of the form to apply for leave (permission) to make the application. The initiating order will schedule a practice day hearing. At the practice day hearing VCAT will consider whether to grant leave. Other parties may oppose your application for leave, so you or your representative must attend the practice day hearing to support your application.

Time limits

An objector has 21 days after being given advice of a Notice of Decision to Grant a Permit to lodge an application for review with VCAT. If we don’t receive applications from objectors within this timeframe, the council can issue the permit. If we receive an application for review from an objector, the permit cannot be issued until VCAT decides the application.

Extension of time to apply

Under section 126 of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998, VCAT can extend the time to apply. We can extend the time by which you must make an application to VCAT – if it is reasonable to do so and if extending time would not cause any prejudice or detriment to a party or potential party that cannot be remedied by an appropriate order for costs or damages.

Complete and submit the Application for an extension of time form to apply for more time to lodge an application.

Need help with your application?

VCAT cannot give you legal advice. Seek legal help if you are unsure about your legal options. The following services may be able to help you:

Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?

You may have a legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT (such as a lawyer, town planner, relative, or some other person). In Planning and Environment cases you do not need to have VCAT's permission to be represented.

Find free or low-cost legal services that may be able to assist you.

Access and privacy

VCAT hearings and files are usually public.

VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality. For more about applying for confidentiality.

Legislation that applies to this type of case

  • When VCAT receives your application we assign a reference number and send you an initiating order. The initiating order sets out the steps in the progress of your case to a final decision. The order gives directions to you and other parties and specifies the date of the final hearing and if necessary the dates of a practice day hearing and/or compulsory conference. Read more about what happens when VCAT opens a case

  • A compulsory conference is a form of mediation. We use compulsory conferences to allow parties to work together towards a settlement. If you have been told to attend a compulsory conference, you need to prepare an opening statement. Use the opening statement to clearly state your case. It can be a helpful starting point for discussion between the parties. See more about how to resolve a case by agreement.

  • VCAT members decide cases based on the parties submissions and the expertise of the members. In many cases submissions are supported by evidence, witness statements and/or an inspection. As soon as you receive the initiating order, start preparing for the hearing. If you are going to call expert evidence, you will have to meet detailed requirements and strict timeframes. Gather together the documents you will bring to the hearing to support your case, for example, six copies of your written submission, photographs, videos, and witness statements. Read more about how to prepare for your final hearing.   

  • Arrive at VCAT with plenty of time so that you are not late for your hearing. Go directly to the hearing room, do not wait for your case to be called. Write your name on the appearance sheet for your case. You will find the appearance sheet on the hearing room table. The hearing gives all parties a chance to make submissions, to give and hear evidence, ask questions, call witnesses and provide supporting documents. Normally the responsible authority makes the first submission, followed by the referral authorities (if any), any objectors and finally the permit applicant. Each party has a brief right of reply. Read more about what to expect on final hearing day.

  • The VCAT member may give their decision at the end of the hearing. If they need more time or a site visit they normally give a decision within six weeks of the last hearing date. The VCAT member may give reasons for the decision verbally or in writing. If you want the reasons in writing, make the request within 14 days of the hearing date. Read more about what to expect after the final hearing.