What is a planning scheme amendment

What is a Planning Scheme Amendment (PSA) ?

Planning schemes set out the way land can be used, developed, and protected. Planning schemes are used to guide planning and development decisions. A Planning Scheme Amendment (PSA) is a request to change the local planning scheme. An example would be a request to extend protections to all dry-stone walls across the Shire or introducing a specific zoning schedule with objectives around character, design, landscape, and heritage. 

The process for carrying out a planning scheme amendment is set out in Part 3 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 

What informs the PSA

An amendment will usually be developed in response to a Planning Scheme Review. The review will look at the existing planning scheme and how effective and appropriate policies, zoning, overlay and other development controls are and where they can be improved. The review recommendations will be based on data and evidence reports, community consultation and stakeholder engagement reports and a planning scheme audit report. 

The review will then be used to prepare a planning scheme amendment which will guide the future of land use and development within the municipality over the coming years. 

Councils as planning authorities need to regularly review their planning scheme and provide sound, strategic and coordinated planning of land use and development. 

Who can request a PSA?

Council generally initiates the process to amend the planning scheme however this process can also be initiated at the request of a private applicant or landowner. Most privately sponsored amendments relate to an individual parcel of land where the landowner is the main beneficiary. However, council is not currently able to accommodate proponent led amendments due to the significant strategic planning work plan 


All costs associated with processing a privately sponsored amendment is paid for by the applicant (proponent). Fees are set by the state government. And there may also be significant costs associated with the Independent Planning Panel process. Note that the payment of fees does not guarantee Council support for the amendment.  

Strategic merit

Council only considers amendments to the planning scheme that demonstrate strategic merit such as amendments that substantially aid implementation of an adopted state, regional or local strategic study, plan or policy of significance and priority for Hepburn shire or amendments that deliver substantial net benefits to the broader community. In addition to the merits of the application, council will also consider the resourcing available to proceed with any privately sponsored PSA.

When will further strategic work commence?

Council has endorsed a program of strategic work to underpin the further development of the Hepburn Planning Scheme over the next 5 – 10 years. These future strategic projects include township structure plans, an agricultural land study, heritage studies and vegetation / biodiversity reviews. They will include broad community and stakeholder involvement and help to fill gaps in the existing evidence and strategic base for the planning scheme. The timing for the preparation of these studies will be subject to normal Council budget processes.