Changes for planning and environment orders

Posted on 24 Aug 2017

We have revised initiating orders and subsequent orders used in the Planning and Environment List Definition A List is an area in VCAT that deals with cases of a similar nature. For example, the Residential Tenancies List decides cases between tenants and landlords, and the Civil Claims List handles disputes about buying or selling goods and services. based on internal findings and feedback from stakeholders.

These changes are designed to better tailor information and support parties throughout the VCAT process.

The process of scheduling dates for a hearing Definition The time and place at which VCAT hears the parties argue their case and makes a decision. and compulsory conference Definition Compulsory conferences are confidential meetings where parties discuss ways to resolve their dispute with the help of a VCAT member. has not changed. However, the information on the initiating orders has been streamlined so that it relates more specifically to the type of order made. For example, information about compulsory conferences will not be included when no compulsory conference is scheduled.

Statement of grounds form

We are no longer sending the statement of grounds Definition A statement from the respondent setting out reasons about whether they agree or disagree with the applicant and about what they say in their application. Also called a defence or 'points of defence'. form along with initiating orders. They will now only be available to download on our website by going to

VCAT will deliver a user-friendly online version of the statement of grounds form later this year.

Additional provisions

Additional standard provisions have been introduced in relation to the following:

Fee information

Initiating orders now emphasise fee payment requirements to avoid delays that can occur from applicants failing to pay daily hearing fees.

Compulsory conferences

If your matter goes to a compulsory conference, applicants must circulate any amended plans to parties at least 5 business days before the compulsory conference.

Applicants must also circulate amended plans under Practice Note Definition A document at VCAT that details VCAT procedures, instructions, rules, processes and information. There are practice notes that apply across all of VCAT, for example PNVCAT1 - Common procedures. Some Lists have their own practice notes that provide specific information about processes, procedures… – Amendment of plans and applications (PNPE9) within 5 business days after the compulsory conference. This will modify the requirements in PNPE9.

Giving notice

If notice is required to be given, the date by which a completed statement of notice must be filed with VCAT will be changed to be more than 14 days after any sign on the site is required to be displayed.

87A applications

Applicants seeking to amend a permit (section 87A) must provide a hard copy and electronic PDF of the application, including all plans and other attachments, to the responsible authority.

The responsible authority must display the 87A application on its website as soon as practicable and make a copy available for inspection at its main office.

Applicants must advise people to whom notice must be given that their 87A application is available for inspection at the responsible authority's office and on its website. To reduce the amount of material required to be served, copies of all plans no longer need to be provided as part of giving notice.

More information about how to prepare for a hearing

There is more detailed information about the hearing sent with the subsequent order, including what to do, what to bring and the order of proceedings. This will be of benefit to all parties, especially self-represented litigants.


We welcome your feedback about these changes, please email or – if contacting us before 31 August – call 9628 9777.