The Victorian Ministers for Water and Planning recently endorsed the recommendations of the Improving Stormwater Management Advisory Committee, chaired by our Strategic Director Engagement, Chris Chesterfield.
The recommendations, outlined in the Committee’s final report on 4 September, are aimed at improving stormwater management to protect Victoria’s rivers, reduce the burden on drinking water supplies, and deal with the challenges of climate change.
In endorsing the recommendations, Minister for Water Lisa Neville and Minister for Planning Richard Wynne announced changes to all Victorian planning schemes to extend the stormwater planning requirements to commercial, industrial, public and multi dwelling residential developments. This means most developments requiring planning permits will have to reduce pollution and other harmful effects of stormwater entering waterways, which will help protect the long term health of urban water bodies such as the Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay.
In addition, where possible, stormwater will be used instead of drinking water for purposes such as watering parks and gardens.
The Ministers noted that expanding the stormwater management provisions also means the government will deliver Action 19 of the Yarra River Action Plan.
The Improving Stormwater Management Advisory Committee was appointed in April 2018 to advise the government on how to improve stormwater management and strengthen the links between water and land use planning.
In releasing the Committee’s recommendations, Chris Chesterfield said: “As Victoria’s population grows, there is a need for stormwater management policy reform including changes to the [Victorian planning provisions], clearer accountabilities for stormwater managers and clearer specifications of what is expected of land and infrastructure managers (such as water corporations, local governments, VicRoads and industrial and commercial businesses).
“The committee had only a brief period to consider reforms to the way stormwater is managed in Victoria. We have made a series of modest recommendations, which we believe build on Victoria’s significant achievements in water sensitive urban design.”
In announcing the changes to all Victorian planning schemes, Minister Neville said: “Stormwater is the biggest threat to the health of urban waterways and one of the biggest threats to the health of Port Phillip Bay. It’s our responsibility to protect these vital assets for future generations.”
Planning Minister Richard Wynne noted: “Over the years many stakeholders have called for more consistent stormwater planning controls and I’m proud that this Government has listened and responded by introducing more equitable and effective controls.”
The Improving Stormwater Management Advisory Committee released an Issues Paper, invited stakeholder submissions, and conducted workshops as part of its consultations.