|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
The Ministry for Planning and Environment was established on 1 September 1983. With the establishment of the Ministry further co-ordination of government regulation of land use was achieved as functions relating to environment protection, heritage protection including archaeological survey, Crown land planning and coastal management (both within and without Port Phillip Bay) were administered along with the general land planning functions the Ministry inherited from the Department of Planning (VA 599).
In 1985 the Ministry also assumed responsibility for the control and development of building regulations and for the Plumbers and Gasfitters Board. At the same time responsibility for the Landata function, established in 1982 in the previous Department of Planning, was transferred to the Department of Property and Services (VA 430). In the same year the broader coastal management function was transferred to the Department of Conservation, Forests and Lands (VA 1034).
In April 1990 the Ministry was abolished and its main planning functions transferred to the Department of Planning and Urban Growth (VA 3006). Responsibility for environment effects statements, building regulation, and heritage protection was also transferred to the Department of Planning and Urban Growth (VA 3006). The following "heritage" and "environment" functions were transferred to the Department of Conservation and Environment (VA 3004): protection of historic buildings, National Estate and environment protection (policy and planning).
The prime focus of the Ministry was managing and controlling the use of land, safeguarding and improving the environment and protecting the heritage of Victoria.
Overview of Planning Functions
The State Government became involved with land use planning in the 1920s in response to pressure from town planners for improved land use and better co-ordination of services. Municipalities were given power to zone land for residential use in 1921. The Metropolitan Town Planning Commission (VA 3131) (est. 1922) recommended development of planning schemes with statutory force to be administered by municipalities. Little was done, however, to implement these proposals during the depression of the 1930s.
Prior to the Second World War, the Victorian Housing Commission (VA 508) was empowered to require municipalities to prepare zoning plans for residential areas as part of the Commission's slum abatement programme. During the War, the Commonwealth used its control of funding for housing to pressure the States to adopt both town planning and regional strategic planning as part of postwar reconstruction.
Regional planning developed into the regional development and decentralisation functions of State Development & Decentralisation (VRG 51) and was carried out through the State Regional Boundaries Committee (est. 1944) and subsequently by the Central Planning Authority (est. 1946).
Statutory (town) planning began in 1944 co-ordinated by the Town & Country Planning Board (VA 516). Under this statutory regime, municipalities (singly or jointly) prepared planning schemes for approval by the Minister, and then administered the approved schemes. Interim development orders provided planning authority in areas not yet covered by a scheme. The Melbourne & Metropolitan Board of Works (VA 1007) was given responsibility for the Melbourne metropolitan planning scheme from 1949 to 1985.
In 1968, amendments were made to planning legislation which broadened the planning function to include "strategic planning" and introduced greater co-ordination. A three-tiered planning system was introduced. Planning schemes now operate within a framework established by State-wide Statements of Planning Policy and Regional Planning Schemes. This system, further centralised and streamlined by legislative amendments in 1987, establishes closer links with other planning mechanisms in areas such as transport, education, heritage protection, and environment protection.
Development of Statutory Planning Functions [Planning Schemes (to 1988)]
From 1922 to 1929 the Metropolitan Town Planning Commission (VA 3131), financed partly by Melbourne metropolitan municipalities and partly by contributions from the Railways, Tramways, Harbour Trust, and the Board of Works, operated in an advisory and honorary capacity. Its work included research and recommendations on urban development and town planning. Its 1929 report (concerning zoning, transport, recreation, harbours and rivers, building regulation, and conservation) provided a model for those urging government to enact a statutory planning regime and for those municipalities undertaking land use zoning up to 1944.
As part of postwar reconstruction, the Commonwealth prompted the States to undertake both town and regional planning. In Victoria, town planning functions were set up on a statutory basis administered through the Town and Country Planning Board (T&CPB) (VA 516). Regional planning (cf. regional development) was carried out through the State Regional Boundaries Committee and subsequently by the Central Planning Authority.
The work of the T&CPB in the preparation, amendment, administration and enforcement of planning schemes and interim development orders included:
co-ordinating and advising planning authorities responsible for developing and administering statutory planning schemes, and
advising the Minister whether or not schemes and scheme amendments prepared by municipalities and other planning authorities should be approved and gazetted.
Melbourne and Metropolitan Statutory Planning 1949 - 1988 [Planning Schemes (to 1988) Melbourne and Metropolitan]
Because most municipalities had failed to use their new planning powers, in 1949 the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works (VA 1007) was given the task of preparing a metropolitan planning scheme. Responsibilities transferred to the MMBW for the metropolitan area included:
preparation or amendment of planning schemes and interim development orders
levying of annual metropolitan improvement rate to recover expenses of planning activities
administration and enforcement of the provisions or sections of the provisions of schemes including consideration and determination of planning permit applications and ensuring compliance with the planning controls and the conditions attached to planning consent
The first version of the Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Scheme (1954) was prepared by the MMBW and exhibited in 1953. The MMBW approved the scheme in 1958 but it was not until 1968 that the Minister for Local Government gazetted it as a legally enforceable document.
As a result of changes to planning legislation in 1968 the MMBW was given responsibility for statutory planning of an enlarged metropolitan area.
The 1971 amendment to the Mark I Scheme generated such widespread debate within the community that the Board re-evaluated its position and in 1974 published the Report on General Concept Objections to inform the public of its deliberations to the objections to the 1971 proposal. The Mark III plan, the Metropolitan Strategy, was presented in 1980.
When the MMBW commenced its Mark I plan only a few local councils were engaged in scheme preparation. Local planning powers were not suspended but allowed to co-exist with those of the MMBW, leading to a complex process of land use control. In 1981 nine metropolitan municipalities had a planning scheme while 12 had Interim Development Orders, some requiring developers to apply for a permit from both local and metropolitan authorities. Gradually the MMBW negotiated with the relevant councils to reduce this duplication.
In 1979 planning legislation was amended to allow local councils to play a more clearly defined role. Subsequently municipalities were able to prepare local development schemes within broad regional guidelines. These schemes were to introduce even finer grained zoning than under the Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Scheme provided they did not conflict with it. Only one such scheme was ever approved and the local development schemes were repealed shortly thereafter.
The development control function of metropolitan statutory planning was largely delegated to local councils (around 60%) while the MMBW retained primary responsibility for permit applications concerning the boundaries of zones or reservations and for all land in certain zones, such as Rural Residential Zones, Reserved Industrial Zones and Special Conservation Zones. During the late 1970s and the 1980s local councils developed their role beyond that of making decisions in regard to planning applications for land uses and areas delegated by the MMBW.
The Development of Strategic Planning 1968 to 1988 [Planning (to 1988)]
After the overhaul of state planning legislation in 1968 the functions undertaken by the Town and Country Planning Board were broadened to include
the co-ordinated development of statewide general land use planning policies to provide effective guidance for the preparation of statutory planning schemes and co-ordination of planning mechanisms available to various government agencies and statutory authorities
preparation of Statements of Planning Policy with the assistance of the State Planning Council, later the State Co-ordination Council. These bodies consisted of representatives of various service, development and conservation authorities and were to develop broad scale, strategic land use policy and produce statements of planning policy for specific areas or types of land use which when approved by the Minister and gazetted, became government policy and legally binding on both councils and regional authorities. Statements of Planning Policy which came into operation were:
Statement of Planning Policy 1 (Westernport) 1970 (varied 1976)
Statement of Planning Policy 2 (Mornington Peninsula) 1970
Statement of Planning Policy 3 (Upper Yarra Valley and Dandenongs)
1971 (varied 1979)
Statement of Planning Policy 4 (Yarra River) 1971 (varied 1979)
Statement of Planning Policy 5 (Highway Areas) 1973
Statement of Planning Policy 6 (Land Use and Aerodromes) 1973
Statement of Planning Policy 7 (Geelong) 1973
Statement of Planning Policy 8 (Macedon Ranges and Surrounds) 1975
Statement of Planning Policy 9 (Central Gippsland) 1975
It was envisaged that regional planning authorities established under the post-1968 legislation would operate in most, if not all, the regions of Victoria. It was also envisaged that the Statements of Planning Policy would provide the guidelines for regional authorities to develop regional planning schemes (statutory) to be administered by local municipalities. However most of those regional planning authorities which were established were given primarily a strategic planning role rather than a statutory planning role.
The Planning and Environment Act 1987 [Planning, post 1988]
After 1988 a more co-ordinated programme of statutory and strategic planning was conducted under the Planning and Environment Act 1987. The new legislation introduced broader heritage, urban and environment conservation planning controls into the planning process. Sections of the 1987 Act provide that all planning schemes must include provisions relating to the protection of both rural or natural area conservation and heritage and urban conservation including natural and other resources and the maintenance of ecological processes and genetic diversity. Planning schemes under the Act must also seek to conserve and enhance those buildings, areas and or other places which are of scientific, aesthetic, architectural or historical interest, or otherwise of special cultural value. These sections of the Act are in part a restatement of Government policy as expressed in the document Protecting the Environment. Conservation Strategy for Victoria 1987
Functions undertaken under this legislation can be summarised as:
development and implementation of State and Regional sections of planning schemes. State sections provide for government policies and strategic planning issues such as highways and other matters of state significance. Regional sections provide for policies, standards and strategies which apply across a region.
amendment of planning schemes by regional authorities, municipalities and others authorised by the Minister (planning authorities)
advising the Minister whether or not schemes and scheme amendments prepared by municipalities and regional authorities should be approved and gazetted
approval and gazettal of planning schemes by the Minister for Planning
administration and enforcement of the provisions or sections of the provisions of schemes including consideration and determination of planning permit applications, issue of permits and ensuring compliance with the planning controls and the conditions attached to planning consent. This aspect of the function is usually administered by local councils (responsible authorities) but can also be the Minister for Planning or any other Minister or public authority specified in the scheme. Administration of planning schemes can also involve referral to any person or public authority that is specified in the scheme as a referral authority for an application of that kind. The referral authority has the right of veto to the granting of the permit. The State section of all schemes specifies the Environment Protection Authority (VA 1058) as the referral authority for applications for use or development requiring a works approval, a licence to discharge, or an amendment of a licence under the Environment Protection Act 1970. The Liquor Licensing Commission (VA 2869) is specified as the referral authority where an application relates to the use of premises where a license under the Liquor Control Act 1987 may be sought. The Secretary of the Department of Energy and Minerals (VA 3035) is specified as the referral authority for applications to use or develop land for mineral prospecting/exploration, mineral evaluation/development or mineral production.
Heritage Protection, Preservation of the Built Environment and Archaeological Survey
ly owned buildings which are of "historic" or "architectural significance" can be protected and assistance given for their upkeep under the Historic Buildings Act, see section protection of historic buildings below.
Government owned buildings of "historic" or "architectural significance" which are still used for government purposes and which are not on a crown land reserve (ie. are situated on government land) can, from 1989, be protected under the same legislation [See section protection of historic buildings below] or can be protected under the Government Buildings Advisory Council Act 1972, see section preservation of government buildings below.
"Historic sites or places" denotes areas (such as goldfields) or historic buildings once ly owned or government owned but no longer used for government purposes, which are on public crown land (usually reserved), see section historic sites on Crown lands in VA 3004 Department of Conservation and Environment.
ly owned buildings can also be protected through statutory planning controls which designate certain areas as being of urban conservation or historic interest. Advisory services and financial assistance is given to encourage conservation and restoration projects with particular emphasis on the conservation of historic areas, see section heritage protection below.
National Estate funding is used to assist projects under these and many other types of conservation and preservation programmes which seek to protect Australia's cultural and natural heritage, see section National Estate below.
This function has generally been administered along with other statutory and strategic planning functions and has encompassed:
the provision of general heritage advice to local government and other responsible authorities within the statutory planning framework; the provision of advice on heritage matters to the Ministry, particularly with reference to planning schemes which include historic or architecturally important buildings or areas.
the identification and designation of Urban Conservation Areas and recommendations for amendments to planning schemes to protect the historic and architectural character of these areas
the development of policy for heritage protection. See Victoria's Heritage: A Future for the Past strategy paper released 1983/84
the administration of a system of advisory services and financial assistance to encourage conservation and restoration projects with particular emphasis on the conservation of historic areas, as distinct from individual buildings in both country towns and the inner suburbs of Melbourne, including:
( the Restoration Funds and Advisory Services Program which provides selected towns with part-time heritage advisers and with small restoration funds loaned to individuals on the advice of a local restoration fund committee. Towns assisted in this way include Maldon, Beechworth/Chiltern/Yackandandah, Queenscliff, Ballarat, and Port Fairy.
( In the early 1990s the Heritage Properties Restoration Program a jointly funded Commonwealth/State program to restore many of Victoria's heritage properties was administered. Also responsibility for financial administration and contribution of expertise and staff resources for the City of Melbourne Restoration Fund Ltd, a joint initiative of the State Government and the Melbourne City Council providing low interest loans to restore significant buildings in the City of Melbourne.
heritage planning studies conducted in urban and rural areas
management of the Goldfields Restoration Fund developed with reference to the Victorian Tourism Commission's goldfields tourism strategy, and to public land historic-site management, funded by Commonwealth Bicentennial program and providing financial assistance in the form of loans to owners of historic buildings or sites for conservation projects
Protection of Historic Buildings
This function encompasses the preservation of historic buildings, both ly owned and government owned, other than government buildings still registered on the Government Buildings Register and historic sites on crown land. See VA 1405 Historic Buildings Council for more information regarding the administration of this function.
Preservation of Government Buildings
This function encompasses the preservation of designated government-owned buildings used for government purposes (e.g. Government House). See VA 1405 Historic Buildings Council for more information regarding the administration of this function.
This function encompasses the activities of the national estate committee including:
the development, co-ordination and administration of the Commonwealth-funded National Estate Program in Victoria, the aim of which is to preserve the State's heritage
the provision of a Chair and professional and administrative support for the inter-departmental committee which considers applications for grants and monitors projects which have been funded
Examples of projects funded by the National Estate Program include the Maldon Restoration Fund and the Beechworth\Chiltern\Yackandandah Restoration Fund.
Maritime and Historic Archaeological Survey and Aboriginal Archaeological Survey
The maritime and historic archaeology function encompasses the location, recording and protection of shipwrecks/maritime archaeology and post European settlement archaeological relics under the provisions of both State and Commonwealth legislation. The Aboriginal archaeology function encompasses the location, recording and protection of aboriginal prehistory and archaeological relics also under both State and Commonwealth legislation. The administration of these closely related functions was split in 1993 when the aboriginal archaeology function remained with Aboriginal Affairs, Victoria (VA 3101) and the Archaeological Survey (responsible for maritime and historic archaeology) was transferred back to the Planning portfolio (VRG 65). For more information regarding both archaeological functions see VA 1802 Victoria Archaeological Survey and VA 3101 Aboriginal Affairs, Victoria.
This function encompasses
the development of policy regarding the use of public coastal lands including the improvement of community access to the State's coastline, the protection of sensitive environments, the development of recreational facilities, the reduction of the effects of soil erosion, the rehabilitation of degraded or damaged areas by revegetation and the repurchase of significant coastal areas where possible.
the co-ordination of management of public coastal lands including technical support and assistance as well as co-ordination of works undertaken by Committees of Management of public coastal lands
the preparation and/or consideration of management plans and the approval of works and developments on public coastal lands
Background: Reservation of Coastal Public Land
Most coastal land was originally reserved for public use according to a set of orders made in the 1870s and 1880s. Reservation was intended to guarantee public access to water by preventing the sale of any further Crown lands adjoining water bodies.
Coastal margins were originally retained to facilitate water transport and associated land access. In non-port areas they were usually regarded as easements, rights of way or land banks for possible future developments. Crown frontages to Port Phillip Bay were created as early as the late 1830s and from the early 1850s they were identified by surveyors as a matter of course right around the bay. Some of the beaches close to Melbourne were specially reserved as parks, gardens or for recreation in the mid and late 1860s but most were not given firm protection until 1873 when legislative steps were taken to remove a loophole which had allowed coastal land to be converted to freehold under section 42 of the Land Act 1865. In June 1873 all "unappropriated" Crown lands along the shores of Port Phillip Bay were permanently reserved. The remainder of the coastline was reserved over the next decade and on the 23 May 1881 a blanket reservation was made of all unalienated land within 1 and a half chains of the colony's " Rivers, Rivulets, Creeks, Channels, Aqueducts, Lakes, Reservoirs, Swamps, Inlets, Loughs and Straits".
Coastal public land so reserved has traditionally been occupied on an annual permit or licence basis. These occupations generally fall under two categories: those for activities associated with recreational use of the frontage and adjoining waters, such as jetties, boatsheds, bathing boxes, boat and swimming club-houses, refreshment booths etc. Permits are issued by the local controlling body, usually the municipal council; the second form of occupation is for grazing licenses where there is little or no public usage and no local controlling body. These licences are issued by the central government department responsible for the public lands function.
In addition special legislation has on occasions allowed proprietary rights to coastal lands for certain purposes. For instance, in St. Kilda, an Act in 1965 allowed the municipal council to enter into leases for a specified portion of the shore reserve for a maximum term of 50 years for the provision of a marina and restaurant. In 1967 statutory provision was made for leases for a maximum term of 21 years for surf life-saving associations.
Committees of Management
Coastal public lands, in the same way as many other public lands reserved for public purposes, are directly controlled by Committees of Management which are appointed by the Minister responsible for public lands. (See section Crown Lands (Public) in VRG 94.) In most cases the local municipal council is appointed, in others, local individuals are elected to the committees. These Committees of Management may obtain advice from, and in some matters are subject to statutory control by, the government agencies which deal with fire protection, land conservation, planning etc. Some coastal public lands are controlled directly by port authorities and other statutory bodies.
Co-ordination of coastal land management
By the mid 1960s it was realised that popular bayside and coastal beaches required measures for co-ordination of works and developments to ensure correct land use, the prevention of deterioration of the foreshore, the improvement of facilities and the identification and planned preservation of all natural assets. The Port Phillip Authority (VA 1102) was established in 1966 to co-ordinate the development of the Port Phillip area and prevent further deterioration of the foreshore. Works and developments in the coastal zones defined as the Port Phillip Area had to be authorised by the Authority. The Port Phillip Coastal Planning and Management Act 1966 was repealed by the Planning and Environment Act 47/1987, see section Coastal Management (Port Phillip Area) below.
In 1978, under the provisions of the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978, (No.9212) the Coastal Management and Co-ordination Committee (CMCC) was established with responsibility for the oversight of management and protection of the coastline of Victoria, except that around Port Phillip Bay.
In 1983 responsibility for both the Port Phillip Authority and the CMCC was transferred to the Ministry for Planning and Environment placing responsibility for planning and co-ordination of management of all coastal lands (except major ports and national parks) within the ambit of one department. Thus all planning, management, works, funding and protection of coastal resources, as well as assistance with the preparation of management plans, in conjunction with other government agencies, committees of management and coastal municipalities, were administered by the newly established Coastal Unit within the Ministry. The Minister was responsible for approval of management plans, changes to plans and changes in use and development, and approval of leases, licences and permits.
From 1983 until October 1985 when the responsibility for the CMCC lay with the Minister for Planning and Environment the Department of Conservation, Forests and Lands (VA 1034) continued to undertake some coastal management functions such as central policy and planning co-ordination of Committees of Management as well as technical support to the Department's nine coastal regions and works programming for coastal areas. It also undertook the purchase of freehold land for addition to existing coastal reserves; reviews of existing management systems and charges for occupation of coastal Crown land; erosion control works funded by Land Protection Service grants; major stabilisation projects in coastal parks and coastal reserves and representation on the Optional Dress Bathing Committee convened by the Local Government Department.
After October 1985 when revised coastal management arrangements were introduced the Ministry for Planning and Environment (VA 1024) became responsible for comprehensive planning and co-ordination in Port Phillip Bay (see Coastal Management (Port Phillip Area)) and for strategic coastal planning throughout the State while the Department of Conservation, Forests and Lands (VA 1034) had responsibility for directly managing the coast outside Port Phillip Bay. After the legislation under which the CMCC exercised its powers was returned to the Minister for Conservation Forests and Lands (VRG 75) in 1985 staff engaged in coastal management were employed in both agencies. The staff which provided the administrative support for the CMCC were based in Department of Conservation, Forests and Lands but the Chair of the CMCC came from within the Ministry of Planning and Environment.
From October 1985 the Ministry of Planning and Environment MPE undertook strategic planning exercises for coastal areas, eg. developing the State Coastal Strategy, the Gippsland Lakes Strategy and the Mordialloc Foreshore Strategy. Through representation on the CMCC and its five Regional Coastal Committees the MPE implemented its strategies into the coastal land management process and co-ordinated its work with that of other agencies with direct responsibility for coastal land management (such as DCF&L, and the Port Authorities).
The Coasts, Open Space and Waterways Branch within the Heritage and Environment Division of the Ministry Planning and Environment undertook coastal management activities such as the development of a State Coastal Strategy to deal with issues such as the protection of resources, water quality, and development potential as well as provide guidelines within which management plans were to be prepared for the nine coastal planning districts and as a framework for co-ordinating the activities of the various responsible authorities; the development of Building Height Controls along Port Phillip Bay; the development of several coastal management plans intended to ensure a balance between coastal use and conservation, and that conflict between the various activities within coastal areas was minimised. In this way the coastal management functions carried out by the MPE and subsequent central planning departments were undertaken within their overall strategic planning responsibilities (see Planning (to 1988) function).
The central departments responsible for public land management have prime responsibility for co-ordinating the management of public coastal zones and the CMCC (which continues to report to the Minister responsible for public land functions) directly controls and co-ordinates all works and developments in these areas through the statutory management plan process described above.
Coastal Management (Port Phillip Area)
This function encompasses:
co-ordination of development in the Port Phillip Area to 1988.
preserving existing beaches and natural resources and preventing deterioration of the foreshore to 1988
improving facilities (including recreational facilities) in the area to 1988.
For general background relating to the development of this function see section Coastal Management above. The Port Phillip Area comprises public land including foreshore and inshore waters around Port Phillip Bay and between Cape Schanck and Barwon Heads (this latter area of control until 1980 only). Various bodies with statutory powers have specific responsibilities relating to either the Bay or the foreshore, such as Committees of Management, municipalities or public authorities. The Port Phillip Authority (VA 1102) was established in 1966 in order to co-ordinate development as a result of this the multiplicity of control, management and responsibility.
It is not clear exactly when the Port Phillip Authority ceased to exist but it would appear that the Coasts, Open Space and Waterways Branch within the Ministry for Planning and Environment undertook its functions after its demise around the early 1980s until the repeal in early 1988 of the Port Phillip Coastal Planning and Management Act 1966 by the Planning and Environment Act 47/1987 s.205.
After the PPA Act was repealed in early 1988 the controls provided for in the Act were incorporated into the State Section of statutory plans and both the Minister for Planning and Environment (VRG 65) and the Minster for Conservation, Forests and Lands (VRG 75) were made Referral Authorities to consider and approve permits for works and developments in the Port Phillip Area. This statutory referral advice was co-ordinated at the State level through an Ad-hoc Committee established under the auspices of the Coastal Management and Co-ordination Committee. It is believed this ad-hoc administrative arrangement continues today.
Responsibility for the development of environmental policy appears to have originated in the Ministry of Conservation (VA 551) in 1973. During the 1980s this function was administered closely with the strategic planning function. In April 1990 responsibility for this function was transferred to the Department of Conservation and Environment (VA 3004). This function should not be confused with the environment protection (regulation) function administered by the Environment Protection Authority (VA 1058). Over time the function has encompassed:
environmental policy which involves;
developing and implementing strategies for safeguarding the environment including the State Conservation Strategy 1986, which gained statutory force through the Planning and Environment Act 1987; State Greenhouse Strategy
investigating specific environmental issues, Victorian Biodiversity Strategy, Biophysical Data, rural land use and environmental planning, Wetlands program, Native vegetation retention policy, policies and programs aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, monitoring climate change indicators, Environmental Choice education and labelling program
allocation of funds to groups concerned with environmental issues, community education and participation in environmental issues and programs
monitoring and reporting on the state of the environment; preparation of State of the Environment Reports and the work of the Commissioner for the Environment 1986-?1992
environmental planning which involves;
facilitating environmental project evaluation and advising government agencies and industry on environmental matters.
ensuring environmental input in land use planning, advice on the environmental effects of planning scheme amendments and permits; after 1988, assist in development of State and Regional Sections of planning schemes; advice and assistance in the development of regional strategic schemes.
State Conservation and Local Conservation Strategies; Environmental plans and targets, guidelines for ecologically sustainable development, urban planning and environmental management, preparation of open space plan for Melbourne including land purchases.
Environment Effects Statements
Where development proposals involve projects that could have a substantial impact on the environment, such as major engineering works or tourist centres in ecologically sensitive areas, the Minister may require the proponent to prepare an Environment Effects Statement. This function has encompassed:
the administration of the Environment Effects Act 1978 and advice regarding the preparation of Environment Effects Statements involving the assessment of potential environmental impacts of proposed developments and land uses which are likely to have significant environmental effects.
This function was developed and administered along with the general environment protection function until 1990 when the Office of the Environment (responsible for the environment protection function) was transferred to the Department of Conservation and Environment (VA 3004) and this function was transferred to the Department of Planning and Urban Growth (VA 3006) along with other general planning functions.
Environment Protection Regulation
This function encompasses the activities of the Environment Protection Authority (VA 1058) which was established in 1970 under the aegis of the Minister for State Development and Decentralisation (VRG 51). From 1973 to 1983 the Minister for Conservation (VRG 55) had responsibility for this agency; from 1983 to 1991 responsibility lay within the Planning portfolio (VRG 65); in January 1991 this function was transferred to Conservation and Environment (VRG 94). For more information about this function see VA 1058 Environment Protection Authority.
This function encompasses the development and provision of a comprehensive and co-ordinated electronic information network for quick access to data relating to any block of land in Victoria drawing on a variety of government agencies' records and information systems.
Landata was established to co-ordinate the land information records and systems of various government agencies and to develop a computerised land information system for Victoria to provide ready access to information on each block of land in the State. In October 1982 a project team within the Department of Planning (VA 599) began developing a five year corporate plan for Landata, in conjunction with key user agencies. Responsibility for this function was transferred along with other planning functions in 1983. Landata became a division of the Ministry of Planning and Environment in January 1984.
In March 1985, following machinery of government changes, Landata was transferred to the Department of Property and Services (VA 430) and grouped administratively with other major land information and land administration agencies within the Department, such as the Titles Office, the Division of Survey and Mapping and the Valuer-General's Office. Prior to this the Government Computing Service of the Department of Property and Services had provided the Landata Division with advice on technical specifications for computing equipment for the Landata system.
This function encompasses the control and development of uniform building regulations.
In 1940 the first centrally controlled uniform building regulations were established under the Local Government Act 1928. Prior to this each municipality could make by-laws for itself governing building regulation. The 1940 legislation established the Building Regulations Commission which was to prepare and submit draft building regulations to the Minister for Public Works (VRG 18).
Under the Local Government Act 1958 the power to administer Uniform Building Regulations continue to be vested in municipalities (except where provided under Health Act, Sewerage Regulations and Water Supply Regulations which are subject to the approval of appropriate government authorities). The Uniform Building Regulations define detailed provisions for building operations and prescribe certain minimum standards which councils are bound to observe, however, councils have the power to insist on standard above those prescribed in the Regulations. Appeals against decisions by councils may be made to a panel of Referees.
Under the provisions of the Uniform Building Regulations, no building may be erected, constructed, placed in position, rebuilt, reconstructed, re-erected, replaced in position, altered, structurally altered, pulled down or removed unless it complies with the Local Government Act and Uniform Building Regulations and is approved by a council. A written permit must be obtained from the Council and a fee paid as prescribed. Responsibility for the actual administration of building regulation permits lies with each municipal council, see VRG 12 Municipalities.
After the transfer of functions under the provisions of the Commonwealth Aboriginal Affairs (Arrangements with the States) Act 1973 (No. 115) and the Victorian Aboriginal Affairs (Transfer of Functions) Act (No.8608) the Commonwealth assumed legislative power to administer "aboriginal affairs" and undertook major responsibility for funding, though State departments and Ministers continued to provide health, housing, education, employment and welfare services for Aborigines.
Though an Aboriginal Affairs Unit was established within the Premier's Department (VA 2717) from 1975 to administer State sponsorship of economic development and cultural initiatives and to co-ordinate State policy relating to Aborigines, a separate aboriginal affairs agency has been dated from 1985 when the Minister for Planning and Environment (VRG 65) undertook responsibility for this function. With the transfer of this function to the Planning portfolio the co-ordination of the state policy function with the cultural heritage and aboriginal archaeology functions was possible. For more information about this function see VA 3101 Aboriginal Affairs, Victoria.
Location of Records
No records have been transferred to the Public Record Office.