Amendment VC221 (the Amendment), gazetted on 4 August 2022, supports the implementation of Victoria’s Climate Change Strategy 2021 and Gas Substitution Roadmap 2022, which proposes to move Victorian developments into a more environmentally friendly future, by reducing emissions and decarbonising the economy. The Amendment removes barriers to ‘all electric’ developments.
The Amendment provides two very welcome changes to the Victorian Planning Provisions (VPP):
Firstly, prior to the Amendment, several provisions of the VPP encouraged or required developments to be connected to reticulated gas. This applied to several types of developments including housing built on behalf of the Director of Housing, lots of land containing two or more dwellings, and apartment buildings. The Amendment has removed this requirement from the VPP. The relevant clauses of the VPP now provide that ‘connection to a reticulated gas service is optional’.
Secondly, prior to the Amendment, clause 66.01, provided that an application for a subdivision on certain types of land, must be referred to the gas supply authority for comment. A Council was obliged to follow the recommendations of a gas supply authority as the VPP listed them as a Determining Referral Authority. The Amendment has removed this requirement. The VPP now provide that only subdivisions which are proposed to connect to reticulated gas, be referred to the local gas authority.
Effect of the Amendment
The Amendment will likely provide consumers and developers with a greater degree of choice in relation to what type of energy they would prefer to service their development. Whilst connection to reticulated gas is still available, it is no longer mandated. This leaves it open to developers to consider alternative energy sources and is a welcome step towards reducing the carbon emissions of residential dwellings, which are one of the largest contributors to Victoria’s carbon footprint.
If you have any queries about how these amendments may affect you, please contact James Lofting or the Melbourne Planning and Environment team.
This article was written by James Lofting, Partner and Shae Kirby, Law Graduate.