By Anna Barclay | 12 Apr 2019

At Urbis, we are committed to shaping our cities and communities for a better future. Ensuring that students have access to suitable education facilities is key to a strong education system and supporting the next generation to grow and thrive.

Of the many election promises, the Andrews Labour Government has committed to streamlining planning approvals for non-government schools. This would likely occur through stripping Councils of decision-making responsibilities and assigning the task to the Minister for Planning.

We welcome the State Government’s interest and intent around education planning reforms. We believe that, to ensure that non-government schools are considered, consultation should be undertaken by the Government.

In order to play an active role in influencing these changes, Urbis provided a comprehensive submission to Government. To bolster and support this submission, Urbis sought feedback from the industry and held an interactive workshop with key stakeholders.

  • Timing is a key challenge. Resources and a guaranteed time frame are needed.
  • We can learn from New South Wales and Queensland who have various levels of state government intervention, noting that Queensland is much more successful than NSW.
  • There are some immediate opportunities and easy fixes to improve the planning system to reduce red tape for schools.
  • The planning system should be improved concurrently with the Minister taking on school applications.
  • Schools must be consulted throughout the process.


Our submission to government makes recommendations about:

  • Reducing planning permit requirements for schools.
  • Utilising VicSmart to fast track simple applications.
  • Optimising Minister involvement in significant projects, new schools and school growth.
  • Providing a guaranteed time frame so schools can plan construction around the school calendar.

We are continuing discussions with DELWP and we hope to influence planning policy and requirements to reduce the red tape for schools.

We are also in discussions with ISV, with the aim of further influencing the reforms and convincing DELWP to undertake consultation with schools.

Changes are expected second half of this year and we will stay at the forefront of this issue.

To download a copy of the submission, click here.

Anna Barclay View Profile
Rebecca West View Profile