Planning streamlined and online to support business

Published: Friday, 24 April 2020 at 3:05:53 PM

The City has made urgent changes to its planning system to support local businesses and allow more flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Development applications can now be lodged and tracked online and rules that restrict delivery times and operating hours for businesses have been temporarily relaxed.

The City is supporting businesses to make temporary changes to the way they run without the need for development approvals, meaning dine-in restaurants and cafes can easily convert to takeaway venues.

The amnesty on change of use applications was put in place on Beaufort Street last year to help fill shopfront vacancies and has now been extended to all non-residential areas across Vincent.

Delegations have been extended to give City staff and the COVID-19 Committee of Council, which meets weekly, greater power to deal with development applications. This will allow approvals to be issued very quickly.

“We want to streamline the planning system so our local businesses can adapt in response to coronavirus and continue to operate,” said Mayor Emma Cole.

“We are seeing so many innovative and highly responsive changes to way businesses operate – restaurants and cafes are changing the way they serve customers, local delivery is commonplace and businesses are offering online consultations and appointments.

“Some businesses are offering new services and products and have made the switch in a matter of weeks.

“Local businesses are being creative and are doing everything they can to keep trading. We want to keep pace and ensure planning requirements don’t cause slowdowns.

“Our focus is being here to support business while we all navigate these changes to everyday life.”

In addition to the City’s initiatives, the State Government has introduced temporary exemptions relating to medical or health-related facilities, home businesses and changes to signage. The Government has also introduced a two-year extension to commence development for existing approvals.

“The extent and pace of changes being announced may seem daunting, but our team is here to help and give advice on what approvals your business needs both during the COVID-19 emergency and immediately after when we move to focus on economic rebound,” said Mayor Cole.

For more information on what these exemptions mean for businesses, click below.


COVID-19 Planning Information

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