Current arrangements for managing stormwater in new developments in Victoria are inadequate for meeting the Victorian Government’s policy objectives of protecting the longterm health of urban waterways and bays and for maintaining the resilience and liveability of our towns and cities, particularly with future population growth and climate change. The state’s stormwater planning provisions are inconsistent and therefore inequitable. The provisions exempt many types of development from managing stormwater, including those that create the most harmful stormwater impacts.
In April 2018, the Minister for Planning established the Improving Stormwater Management Advisory Committee. It is an advisory committee under Section 151 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to advise the Minister for Planning and the Minister for Water about how to improve stormwater management and strengthen the links between urban planning and water management.
The committee’s terms of reference are available on the project’s website. The terms require it to advise which types of urban development, of those not currently subject to the state’s urban runoff management objectives, should be required to manage their stormwater impacts and how this could be achieved. The terms of reference also ask the committee to advise about policy to improve stormwater management and to strengthen the links between urban water management and the planning and development system more broadly.
The committee was asked to consider the following topics:
- mechanisms in or linked to the planning system that could be used to increase flexibility (such as offset schemes)
- provisions for delivering place-based outcomes to, for example, implement the integrated water management (IWM) plans developed by IWM forums
- protocols or guidance for improving compliance and implementation (such as guidance to encourage broader liveability — for example, urban cooling — benefits or encourage water sensitive urban design [WSUD] outcomes in infill developments)
- information requirements (for example, for WSUD and stormwater management to be reflected in design responses submitted with planning applications)
- other potential mechanisms outside the planning system that could complement changes to planning provisions, to improve stormwater management.