Appealing a decision

Scales on a table

Can I appeal a decision?

If you don’t agree with our planning decision, you can appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) .

VCAT is a State Government-appointed panel of experts comprising lawyers, planners and others with specific areas of relevant expertise. VCAT independently reviews Council planning decisions when an appeal is lodged by either the permit applicant or an objector to the planning permit application.

If you're an applicant

Applicants have 60 days from the date of Council’s decision to submit a review to VCAT.

If you're an objector

Objectors have 28 days from the date of Council’s Notice of Decision to Grant a Planning Permit to lodge an application for review to VCAT.

The VCAT process

Lodge your appeal

To lodge an appeal:

  • Complete an Application for Review form, available from the VCAT website.
  • Submit the form to VCAT and pay the relevant fee.

 

Receive the Initiating Order 

  • After you lodge your appeal, VCAT will send you an Initiating Order. This provides important information, including:  
    • The date of the hearing;
    • Details of compulsory conferences or practice day hearings;
    • Time frames; and
    • The responsibilities of everyone involved.  
  • The Initiating Order may list a compulsory conference. This is an opportunity for the applicant, objectors and Council to informally discuss issues and potentially reach an agreement without a hearing. 
  • The Initiating Order may list a practice day hearing. This aims to resolve procedural issues before a compulsory conference or a full hearing.    
  • For more information about the Initiating Order, you’ll need to contact VCAT.

 

Notify objectors 

  • If anyone objected to your planning permit application, you must notify them of the following: 
    • Appeals that have been lodged;
    • Sufficient information to understand the nature of the appeal; and 
    • A Statement of Grounds form for the objector to complete if they wish to be involved. 
  • For more information about notifying objectors, you’ll need to contact VCAT.

 

Prepare for your hearing

  • To prepare for the VCAT hearing, you should collate all information to support your case. 
  • If you’re an objector, refer to your Statement of Grounds and any planning scheme controls that we considered. Our Statutory Planning team can advise you of the relevant planning scheme controls and policies.  
  • You can represent yourself or engage a town planner or lawyer for the hearing. Our Statutory Planning team cannot recommend consultants or lawyers and nor can we advise you about the content of your arguments, submissions or strategies in preparing for VCAT as Council is a separate, independent party to the appeal process.

 

Attend the hearing 

  • Each party usually only has one opportunity to address the hearing. The hearing will run in the following order: 
    • Preliminary discussions;
    • Council addresses the hearing;
    • Objectors and third parties address the hearing;
    • Applicant addresses the hearing;
    • Council and objectors have a right of reply; and lastly
    • Council and all parties discuss what conditions VCAT should place on any potential decision to issue a planning permit.
  • Council has two roles at the hearing: 
    • Inform the VCAT member of the history and details of the planning permit application; and 
    • Make a submission in support of Council’s position.

 

VCAT’s decision 

  • VCAT can either:
    • Make a decision at the end of the hearing;
    • Reserve their decision and issue a written decision within four to six weeks.  
  • VCAT’s decision is final and binding to all parties. You have no further right to appeal a VCAT decision unless VCAT made a legal mistake in their decision. If there is a legal mistake, then you have the right to appeal to the Supreme Court of Victoria. 
  • For more information about the VCAT decision making process, contact VCAT.

Current VCAT appeals

View Applications for Review currently before VCAT.

We list cases and all associated documentation where VCAT or the Applicant for Review has asked Council to make these documents available for public viewing.

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