Making it easier to develop in Colac Otway
July 19, 2019

Colac Otway Shire Council is forging ahead with its efforts to cut red tape and make it easier and quicker for people to develop land and build across the shire.

Colac Otway Mayor Cr Jason Schram said it was an exciting time for development across Colac Otway Shire, with the duplicated Princes Highway just a few months away from completion, new businesses moving to Colac and Colac's 2050 Growth Plan complete, to guide future residential development.

"Council has looked at how we can cut red tape and make it easier for people to get building and planning permits," Cr Schram said.

"We know how important it is to continually update the Colac Otway Planning Scheme to make sure it is still accurate and remove any overlays or restrictions that are no longer relevant and possibly making it more difficult for people to get permits.

"Council's recent decision to remove the Environmental Significance Overlay from about 1300 land titles to the north of Colac in the Warrion Groundwater Area and also from land along the Barongarook and Deans Creek floodplains will mean the removal of an unnecessary trigger for a planning permit.

"Our planning team is also working through the planning scheme to identify where there are errors and we will progressively make changes to correct the issues which, for example, might have happened decades ago because of a drafting mistake.

“The removal of redundant environmental based overlays is supported by the water agencies, and would occur without any adverse impacts for the environment.

"Council has approved a lot of these decisions and is now working through the process which includes asking the State Planning Minister to authorise the changes.

"Council has also introduced an opportunity for applicants to have their planning applications for the development of a dwelling in a Farming or Rural Conservation Zone considered by Council’s Planning Committee, if their application was recommended for refusal.

"Our planning department is also leading the way by introducing new technology that means applications can be paperless, it can all be done electronically and save time for an applicant across the whole process, with staff being able to assess and approve permits and plans electronically.

"Council's planning and IT teams are also working toward the introduction of new web portal that will allow people to check the status of their planning applications online without having to call or wait for notification.

"It's all about giving people every opportunity to meet the State planning requirements and encouraging development in Colac Otway so more people can live in or visit our fantastic shire," the Mayor said.

"We need more housing options for people and we need a range of accommodation for visitors, and Council is removing red tape and introducing technology to make it easier for landowners and developers in Colac Otway."

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Mayor Jason Schram, Ian Seuren and Doug McNeil


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