Learn about planning permits

What is a Planning Permit?

A planning permit gives you permission to use land, build on land, or subdivide land and the Moorabool Planning Scheme defines when a permit is or is not required. When it does, the permit makes sure that land is used safely, buildings are designed appropriately, and the amenity of neighbours is protected. Planning permits are required by law under the Planning and Environment Act 1987  and it is Council's role to administer and enforce this Act.

Some key points are:

  • Only Moorabool Shire Council (or occasionally the State Government's Minister for Planning) can issue a planning permit within the Moorabool Shire - this means we are the responsible authority.
  • We can only consider the Moorabool Planning Scheme when assessing planning permit applications and this is a public document.
  • Planning permits make sure land is used safely and buildings are well designed.
  • Planning permits help to protect your amenity, privacy and safety. The planning system is the reason that housing and industry are separated!
  • A planning permit applies to the land, not the owner - if the land is sold, the permit remains.
  • Breaching a planning permit or purposely avoiding getting one is an offence under the Act.

What is the Moorabool Planning Scheme? 

The Moorabool Planning Scheme contains all the zones, overlays and particular provisions for the Shire which guide when permits are required and what we are allowed to consider when assessing applications. The Scheme also identifies important qualities and issues in the Shire and how the planning system can address these.

The purpose of a planning scheme is to:

  • Provide a clear and consistent framework within which decisions about the use and development of land can be made.
  • To express state, regional and community expectations for areas and for land use.
  • To provide for the implementation of state and local policies affecting land use and development.

When do you need a Planning Permit?

The quickest and easiest way to work out whether you need a planning permit is to talk with a planner by dropping into our Darley office or calling the planning department on 03 5366 7100.

Many types of use and development require a planning permit, including (but not limited to):

  • Building a house or a shed;
  • Establishing a business (including working from home);
  • Industrial or commercial development;
  • Subdividing land;
  • Building a dam or other excavations;
  • Licensed premises;
  • Advertising signage;
  • Clearing or lopping of native vegetation;
  • Keeping animals;
  • Reduction in car parking requirements.

Whether or not you need a planning permit will depend on a few things. Most important are the zone and any overlays, but other 'particular provisions' in the Scheme can also require a planning permit. A permit may be required for one or many reasons and each reason must be satisfied.

  • All land has a single zone (for example, General Residential Zone) and may also have a Schedule (for example, Schedule 1). This is normally abbreviated, such as GRZ1.
  • Zones define what the purpose of the land is for and when a use needs a permit.
  • 'Section 1' uses do not need a permit. 'Section 2' uses need a permit. 'Section 3' uses are prohibited.
  • Land may have many overlays, or none at all.
  • Overlays control built form and development and are used for particular purposes such as recognising the need for bushfire protection or preserving a town's character.

Apply for Permit

Applying for a Planning Permit


To make an application for a planning permit:

  • Fill out all fields of the application form and include all mandatory information (i.e. owners consent if applicable, certificate of title including any restrictive covenants or agreementsprescribed fee.
  • Attach all the additional information that is required, including but not limited to:
    • Site plan, floor plan and elevations, and colour/material schedule.
    • Relevant planning reports
    • Once submitted, the Planning Department may require additional information as appropriate.
  • Use the relevant checklists as a guide.
  • Get help from a Planning Officer if required. Contact us
    • Duty planner available at Darley office between 8.30am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday.
    • Duty planner available for phone contact from the Ballan office between 8.30am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday.
    • Duty planner available for phone contact from the Lerderderg Library in Bacchus Marsh between 8.30am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday.

To modify your proposal after you've submitted it and before a decision is made, complete and submit this form(DOC, 101KB). Please note that a fee may be charged if the application has already been advertised.

Step 1.VicSmart Applications

View more information and find out if your application qualifies for a VicSmart application here.

Step 2.Specialist Consultants

If you need specialist help with your planning application the following links are provided:

Step 3.What happens next?

Incomplete applications may be returned to you with a list of things you need to provide Council before your application is accepted. Once accepted, your application may require public notice (advertising) and may be referred to water, roads or fire authorities if necessary.

The time for deciding a planning application is 60 days. Some applications may be quicker, however more complex applications can take longer.

When you receive your permit, ensure you read all conditions in the permit carefully as all conditions must be adhered to. Take particular note of condition 1 of the permit which may contain things you must provide to Council before your use or development can commence.

Learn more about the permit decision process.

Amend a Permit

Do you need to change an existing planning permit?

If you have been issued a planning permit, you may apply to modify what the permit allows, conditions on the permit, endorsed plans, or the expiry dates.

Please be advised that amending a planning permit does not extend the expiry dates and you may be required to apply for a separate extension of time.

Amend a planning permit

  • Change what the permit allows for (preamble)
  • Change conditions on the permit
  • Changes which require additional assessment or referral (including additional bedrooms connected to a septic system)


Amendment by secondary consent

  • Change endorsed plans.
  • Changes where the conditions specifically allow for written consent.


Extension of time Planning Permit in accordance with Section 69 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987

  • Extending the commencement or completion dates.



Planning Fees

Step 1.Statutory Fees

Statutory planning permit application fees are set by the State Government. The current fees can be found here. Please note that these fees are adjusted each financial year.

Please contact Council for information regarding fees prior to lodging your application.

Step 2.Non-Statutory Council Fees and Charges

There are separate Council fees(DOCX, 15KB) for specific planning applications and processes such as extensions of time, amendment by secondary consent, and advertising.

Additional Information

Other Statutory Approvals

As well as requiring a planning permit from Council, you may also require approval for your proposal under other legislation. Examples include:

  • Building Permit - Building permits are required for most works such as a new building, extensions, alterations or change of use of an existing building.
  • Liquor Licence - Liquor Licenses are required for the sale and/or consumption of alcohol from the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.
  • Septic Tank Permit - Permits must be obtained from Council's Environmental Health team for septic tanks where reticulated sewerage is not available.
  • Local Laws Permits - Current Local Laws can be viewed here(PDF, 7MB). If you need more information, please contact Council's Community Safety Department for more information.
  • Crown Land - Approval is required from the State Government for use or development of Crown Land.
  • Vehicle Crossing Permit - Approval is required to construct new crossovers access to a public road to both urban and rural roads.

These are just some examples of approvals which may be required and you are encouraged to discuss your proposal with the relevant Council department and/or external agency early in the process.


The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) is an independent tribunal which hears and decides on applications by permit applicants, objectors and others in an informal and expeditious manner upon their merits. It permits a broad range of people whose interests are affected by a decision to participate in a hearing.

The Planning and Environment List hears and determines:

  • Applications to review decisions made by Municipal Councils and other authorities under a number of Acts of Parliament;
  • Applications for enforcement orders;
  • Applications to cancel or amend permits;
  • Applications for declarations relating to the use and/or development of land under the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

Once Council makes a decision on an application, a review by VCAT can be applied for by the permit applicant against conditions of a permit or a refusal to grant a permit, or by an objector against a Notice of Decision to grant a permit.

Please refer to the VCAT website for further information.

Web: https://www.vcat.vic.gov.au/
Address: 55 King Street, Melbourne Vic 3000
GPO Box 5408, Melbourne 3001

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a building permit and a planning permit?

A planning permit does not remove the need to obtain a building permit. Building permits relate specifically to the carrying out of building construction, where as planning permits are legal documents giving permission for a land use or development. Go to Council’s page to make a planning permit application.

How can I view a planning application or obtain a copy of a permit/plans?

At the Greenlight ‘search application’ page enter the application no. as a continuous seven digit number i.e. ‘YYYY###’ and hit the ‘search’ button. Only enter an address if you don’t have the PA number. Click on the PA number to view all public documents associated with the application.

Related Information

Application Forms, Checklists and Templates
View Planning Applications
Find a Specialist Consultant