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Regional Development Victoria

What do you need to know about development approvals?

Every agribusiness operation is unique, so the process for obtaining ultimate approval for your project may vary. There may be a number of  approvals you need,  for example, planning approval, a works approval and water entitlements.

To ensure you consider all factors please contact your local Regional Development Victoria Office prior to completing your application.

To familiarise yourself with some of the common regulatory approvals that may be relevant to your proposal, please click on the buttons below:

Planning application requirements buttonEPA Work approval process buttonTrade Waste Agreement buttonBuilding permit process button Access to water buttonOther agribusiness development information button

Planning application requirements

Agribusinesses may require a planning permit to use or develop land depending on the type of business, its location and compliance with particular codes of practice. The relevant municipal planning scheme determines when a planning permit is required and what information you will need to provide Council with to enable your planning permit application to be assessed.

This is an outline of the process and some readily available resources. Please ensure you get advice tailored to your situation.

1. Pre-application

2. Preparing and submitting your application

3. Council Assessment

4. Council decision

5. Implementing your plan

Talk to your local Food and Fibre specialist within Regional Development Victoria Obtain a planning application form Your local Council will review the application If Council decide to grant a permit, it will likely have conditions You have two years to implement your plan unless the permit specifies a different time frame
Meet with your local Council  Follow the guide to complete your planning application Council may refer your application to other agencies Objectors have 21 days to lodge a review by VCAT if Council decide to grant a permit
You must abide by the conditions of your permit
Understand the planning process Lodge an application with your local Council You will likely need to give notice to your neighbours
You have 60 days to lodge a review by VCAT if Council refuse to grant a permit

Find out what zones and overlays apply to your land
When your application is lodged, it may be viewed by anyone You have 21 days to lodge a review by VCAT if you disagree with the permit conditions Complete other requirements that might apply to your business, e.g. Animal health & welfare, Biosecurity, Environment & Water
Look at your local planning scheme   Council will consider the views of all affected parties before making a decision
Talk to your local Food and Fibre specialist within Regional Development Victoria
Talk to your neighbours  
Consider seeking professional advice

Find out what other approvals or entitlements you may need and include them in your feasibility assessment, e.g. Animal health & welfare, Biosecurity, Environment & Water

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EPA Works Approval process

Works approvals are required for industrial and waste management activities that have the potential for significant environmental impact. They are issued by the Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) under the Environment Protection Act 1970.

Works approval applications are publicly advertised and members of the public and other relevant agencies may provide comments.

This process is designed to identify any community concerns early on and allow prompt resolution. If comments are received from any third parties, the applicant will be provided with an opportunity to address the concerns raised. EPA may convene a conference of the parties to assist in resolving those concerns.

For more information visit:

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Trade Waste Agreement

In order to meet your obligations under the Water Act 1989 you must have an agreement or consent from your relevant water authority before discharging any trade waste to the sewer. These agreements specify what can and cannot be discharged into the sewerage system, and any pre-treatment or monitoring required.

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Building permit process

The Building Act 1993 and Building Regulations 2006 require a building permit to be obtained prior to undertaking any building work (with the exception of certain minor works).

Proponents can choose to apply for a building permit from their local council, another council who offers the service of building permits outside their municipality, or a private building surveyor.

Applications are assessed by a building surveyor for compliance with the relevant Building Regulations to ensure that health, safety and amenity is maintained for users of the building, and adjoining owners' amenity is protected.

Before a building permit can be issued, some works require other approvals or permits, including planning permits, health department approvals, asset protection permits and building over easement approvals.

For more information visit:

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Access to water

The Water Act 1989 describes the rights to take and use Victoria’s surface and groundwater resources. Different water entitlements are necessary depending on where and how water is taken, and what it is then used for.  The most common types of entitlements are water shares, delivery shares, water-use licences, take and use licences, water allowances, supplies by agreement and works licences. A number of these entitlements can be traded to enable water to move between users. There is no obligation for all rural properties to be provided with a water supply. It is therefore important that you understand the availability and reliability of water sources, the water supply arrangements and the likely requirements to manage the impacts of your water use at the location you are considering.  Before you make any investment decisions, you should seek advice from your local water corporation.

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Next Steps

For assistance with navigating the Victorian planning process for agriculture please email us or contact your local Regional Business Centre

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Regional Development Victoria’s Regional Investment and Trade Specialists, focused on food and fibre industries, are located in and service each region.

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© Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, State Government of Victoria

Last Updated: 17 June 2016