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Planning Enforcement

Planning schemes are designed to regulate use, development and protect vegetation where appropriate to meet agreed community objectives. A planning scheme is a law that regulates the way land can be used and developed. As with any other law or regulation, planning schemes are only effective if their requirements are enforced.

The Responsible Authority (which in the case of the Knox Planning Scheme is Knox City Council), is required by law to enforce a planning scheme.

Enforcement will occur when there is a clear breach of the Planning and Environment Act, the planning scheme, permit condition or Section 173 Agreement and the breach warrants enforcement, especially if it causes detriment to the community or compromises development standards. The main emphasis of enforcement is to obtain compliance rather than on prosecuting offenders. However, punishment for some types of offences may be necessary as a deterrent.

Depending on the nature and seriousness of the problem, the Responsible Authority can do one or more of the following:

  • Negotiate informally with the alleged offender to obtain compliance.
  • Serve a Planning Infringement Notice (PIN) – usually for less serious breaches or matters. A PIN is the same as an on the spot fine.
  • Prosecution in the Magistrate’s Court. This may be needed to follow up either an infringement notice or an enforcement order. The court can impose a fine of up to $193,428 plus court costs.
  • Apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for an enforcement order to achieve compliance.
  • Apply to VCAT for an interim enforcement order where there is a need for immediate action.
  • Request VCAT to cancel or amend a permit – for example, for a substantial failure to comply with the conditions of a permit.
  • Contempt charges for non-compliance with Enforcement Orders can be heard before VCAT or a Court with fines of up to $151,670 for a natural person and $758,350 for a corporation or imprisonment.

Other enforcement options may be available in certain circumstances, including seeking injunctions from the courts or in rare cases carrying out the works to secure compliance and then seeking to recover the costs.

Council employs Planning Investigation Officers to assist with planning enforcement matters. If you are uncertain whether your proposal requires planning approval, or to report a planning infringement, please contact our Planning Department using the 'Contact Planning Services' button below.

Need Help?

If you have questions, you can contact us on 9298 8125 or alternatively, you can lodge a request using the 'Contact Planning Services' button below and a staff member will get back to you.

Contact Planning Services

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