State of Emergency Planning Changes - Notice of Exemption from Development Approval

A Notice of Exemption was issued by the Minister for Planning to take effect on Saturday, 11 April 2020; in accordance with the new clause 78H of Schedule 2 (‘Deemed Provisions’) of the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 which came into effect on 3 April 2020. The Notice was amended on 22 April 2022.

Clause 78H of the Deemed Provisions provides the Minister for Planning with the ability to issue a notice (the attached Notice) to temporarily exempt planning requirements of local planning schemes, if such an exemption is considered necessary to respond to a State of Emergency, or to assist with the recovery. The clause was created in response to the current State of Emergency resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, however, it has also been drafted to account for future natural disasters, such as bushfire and flood events.

The Notice of Exemption has been issued to provide specific guidance to both proponents and local government on a range of temporary exemptions for certain approvals and requirements within the local planning framework. The majority of these exemptions will remain in effect until 90 days after the end of the State of Emergency.

The exemptions remove barriers within the planning system to ensure flexible and speedy responses to a changing crisis environment, support business and guarantee the provision of essential community services. They include:

  • medical or health-related facilities required in response to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • truck and logistic companies needing to deliver goods but currently with restricted loading and unloading times;
  • businesses seeking to adapt by changing their current approved use;
  • restaurants and cafes required to sell takeaway in contravention of current planning conditions;
  • people operating their businesses from residential zones;
  • parking commercial vehicles on residential properties;
  • a blanket two-year extension for all current development approvals;
  • businesses needing to change signs; and
  • temporary workers accommodation.
Changes made to the exemptions include the following:
  • Some exemptions have been removed to align with the updated Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015.
  • Clarifying the exemptions to home businesses only apply during a Lockdown.
  • Clarifying the exemptions applicable to non-conforming uses will expire on the day after the State of Emergency Declaration ends. 
  • Removal of exemptions relating to consultation, advertisement, applications and/or forms.

To view a copy of the Notice of Exemption along with frequently asked questions please visit the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage website

What does this mean for businesses?

Is your business exempt from requiring development approval?

If your business meets one of requirements of the Notice of Exemption you will need to notify the City within 7 days of commencing operation. The City’s Statutory Planning team will then review the business activities and send you a letter/email to confirm the exemption. The City’s letter/email will also notify you of any other matters that you may need to address now or in the future.

If you are not sure whether your business is exempt from the requirement to obtain development approval, please contact the City’s Statutory Planning team using our online enquiry form.


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