Practical implications of third party exemptions in an integrated omnibus permit application at VCAT

This bulletin brings attention to the VCAT decision Dance v Colac Otway SC [2024] VCAT 443.

This proposal for tourist accommodation in Johanna required various planning permissions under four planning controls.  Two of these controls were exempt from third party objection and review rights and the other two controls were not exempt. 

VCAT’s decision examines how to deal with the planning permissions, both exempt and not exempt, that have intertwined and integrated considerations.  The decision also considers the relevance of the Bushfire planning policy in the circumstance where the Bushfire Management Overlay is exempt from review rights but planning permission is required for the land uses and development under the Rural Conservation Zone. 

VCAT’s decision explores the possible processes required to reconcile an amended proposal before the Tribunal with the various permissions being sought and the decisions made/to be made on the various planning permissions by the Responsible Authority and the Tribunal. 

VCAT’s decision facilitates a process to enable one omnibus permit to issue. This is achieved by issuing an interim order to allow the permit applicant to seek necessary amendments and for the Responsible Authority to consider these under the exempt controls. If these permissions are granted without raising new issues, the Tribunal will issue the final permit under the controls within its’ jurisdiction, resulting in a single, integrated permit. This approach achieves the principles of integrated decision-making in Victoria's planning system, despite procedural complexities and jurisdictional constraints.