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Do I need a Planning Permit?

Planning Process Overview

For information on the Planning Process, please view this guide - Planning process overview.

Alternatively, expand the steps below.

Step 1: Pre-Application Assessment

What to expect

Before lodging and application, run through the Pre-Application Assessment to ensure the application meets the requirements and can be processed efficiently.

At this stage, based on the application type, you -the applicant- might speak to or meet with an officer to help prepare effectively. This will be determined through the pre-application assessment tool.


Pre-application assessment for a simple application usually takes 1-14 days. Complex applications may take 14-21 days to prepare before lodgement.

From the time the self-assessment is completed, this stage may take approximately between a day - for simple applications that can be self-services - to about two weeks for applications that need preparation and meeting with a planning officer.

All applicants are encouraged to use the Self-Service Pre-Application Assessment Tool.

Step 2: Lodgement

What to expect

Preparation and lodgement of an application are undertaken at the discretion and timing of the applicant. There is no standard time frame.


The time needed to prepare an Application is influenced by the resources and processes that must be undertaken as determined by the Pre-Application processes.

Step 3: Initial assessment and referrals

What to expect

The planning officer will undertake an initial assessment of the application.

Depending on the complexity of the case, and any applicable regulations at the site of the property, the planning officer may need to refer the case to other departments.


Initial assessment and referrals usually take 7 to 28 days to complete. For complex applications it can take longer.

For applications that need referrals the process may take up to four weeks to coordinate responses from internal and external departments.


Not all applications require referrals.

If your application meets the following criteria, it is unlikely to require referrals:

  • Potential issues identified by planners that have been addressed by the applicant at the pre-application stage
  • Straightforward applications such as those that meet VicSmart eligibility
  • External referrals not needed under the planning scheme (this considers what the applicable overlays are at the proposed development site, which you can check through this
Step 4: Request for further information (RFI)

What to expect

The Planning officer may request further information from you based on the completeness of your application. You can minimise your chance of receiving an RFI by following any pre-application advice.


Applicants have 30-60 days to respond to an RFI.

Once the planning officer issues an RFI, applicants usually have 60 days to respond. If the requested information is not submitted within the provided time frame, the application will lapse.


Not all applications require RFIs.

If you application meets the following criteria, it is unlikely to require RFIs:

  • Submit complete applications that address all guidance from pre-application.
  • Follow checklist requirements.
  • Pay fees on time.
Step 5: RFI Response

What to expect

The applicant submits the requested information.

Planning officer reviews submission to determine if it is satisfactory.

You can speed up the review of your response by providing all the requested information at the same time.


The planning officer typically take 7-14 days to assess the RFI response

For applications that need re-referrals, the process may take up to two weeks to coordinate responses from internal and external departments.

You may be requested to provide more information based on your RFI response, especially if changes are significant.

Step 6: Advertising (Formal Public Notice)

What to expect

If advertising of an application is required, a sign is placed on site and letters sent to adjoining owners and occupants. Residents concerned about the application may submit an objection.

In some instances, your planning officer may encourage early public engagement at the pre-application stage (Step 1) to reduce the likelihood of advertising and/or objection later on.


Advertising usually takes 14-21 days.

If advertising is required, a notice period of at least 14 days is undertaken.

You may need to amend your application based on objections.


If advertising is required, a notice period of at least 14 days is undertaken.

You may need to amend your application based on objections.

Step 7: Assessment and Decision

What to expect

The Council will consider any application and referral comments against planning scheme provisions, negotiate with the permit applicant (if appropriate) and issue a decision.

The Council will decide permit conditions, provide a Notice of Decision to Grant a Planning Permit with conditions or provide a notice of refusal.

Please note that a Notice of Decision is not a planning permit. It is a legal notice that is issued when the Bass Coast Shire Council supports the planning application. The notice may involve conditions.


After all assessment processes and activities are undertake, the Council usually take 7-21 days to deliver a decision. This time frame can be extended for complex applications.

Step 8: Review by VCAT

What to expect

The applicant can apply to VCAT to review any conditions imposed by council or to review a refusal of application. Alternatively, an objector can lodge an appeal with VCAT when a Notice of Decision to Grant a Planning Permit has been issued by the Bass Coast Shire Council.


For simple cases VCAT may issue a decision in under four weeks. Other cases will take longer, and if a case is complex, it may take several contacts with VCAT and a number of months (and sometimes years) for VCAT to issue a decision.

Step 9: If applicable, Council issues the permit

What to expect

Once a decision has been made and the review period has expired, the Bass Coast Shire Council will issue a planning permit. Please note that other permits (such as building permits) may also be required.

What do I want to do?

If you are planning to carry out works on your property and are wondering if you need a permit, find the most relevant option below.

Housing Alteration or Construction

Structures on the property

Removal, destruction or lopping of vegetation


Rural Areas

Section 173

Covenants and Restrictions on Title

Change of Use