Guide to farm plans and planning applications

The following checklists and references should be used as a guide only. It is recommended that you consult your local council planners at the beginning.

These checklists help farmers navigate through the requirements of putting together a Farm Plan as part of a planning application for a development in rural zones.

Check with your council whether you need to develop a Farm Plan (partial or whole plan) to support your planning application.

Generally a Farm Plan may be requested by council. An applicant will need to show an overview of the features of the land in question and the proposed use and any impacts this intended use may have on the:

  • land
  • neighbours
  • catchment
  • wider community.

Check the zone your land falls within.

This will be important information for you to prepare your application and respond to the planning expectations of that zone.

You can contact your local council to get this information.

You will need to check whether your site is affected by overlays. Overlays provide another layer of control to protect a specific and important aspect of land.

Types of overlays in Victoria

  • airport environs
  • design and development
  • environmental audit
  • environmental significance
  • erosion management
  • floodway
  • heritage
  • land management
  • land subject to inundation
  • salinity
  • management
  • significant landscape
  • vegetation protection
  • wildfire management

Useful websites for planning scheme information about your property

While your local council can advise you on the zones and overlays that may affect your site, this information may also be accessed on the following websites:

  • Land Channel will provide a free report of the basic details for your property.
  • Our New landholders page has a summary of issues to consider when purchasing a rural property and some of the legal compliance obligations associated with living in rural areas. The page also has information which will also be useful for existing landholders.

We have also created a legislative obligations section that explains in simple terms the laws, codes and regulations relevant to the operation and or ownership of a rural property in Victoria.

Farm Plan requirements

Topography (landscape, geography): Identify on an aerial photograph or site map of your property, main contours ridgelines or steep rises indicated by crosses, shading, or colour.

Soil capability: Identify any active and erosion-prone areas, salinity, slope suitability (steep slopes may require more extensive construction and excavation works to prevent erosion). List or outline any current management or mitigation works and if the proposed development is likely to impact the land (minor or major). Describe how this will be managed.

Native vegetation: Identify and describe all native vegetation present on the property (native vegetation means plants that are indigenous to Victoria, including trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses). Provide current Ecological Vegetation Classes (EVC) — this can be found using the Biodiversity Interactive Map. Identify if there is any vegetation to be affected by the proposed development.

Planning permit triggers for native vegetation removal

Clause 52.17 of your local planning scheme sets out the planning provisions relating to native vegetation removal. As a guide, these are summarised (check with your council):

  • Applicants must demonstrate the adoption of the three step net gain approach: (i) Avoid, (ii) Minimise, and (iii) Offset. Where applicable, you will need to quantify the losses and gains, consistent with the State Government's Net Gain framework and policy. Proposed offsets must be agreed upon by council before any works starting. Where applicable, develop an appropriate list and quantities of indigenous plant species intended for rural landscaping and revegetation on the property.
  • Pest Plant and Animal — Identify and list pest plants (weeds) located on the property (may include pasture, noxious, production and invasive weeds) and identify approximate percentage cover of weeds.
  • Identify and list pest animals within the property (may include wild dogs, rabbits and foxes).
  • Document the present and proposed (ongoing) methods and timing of pest plant and animal controls.
  • Proposed Land Use — Describe the future use of the land — type and quantity of stock, type of agricultural production, conservation, and any associated activities such as fencing — that may need to be constructed as a result of the development. Some councils may require business data regarding the viability of the proposed agricultural land use. Ask your council what level of detail they require?
  • Intensive Animal Industries — Describe activity and whether this is supported by a Code of Practice or Animal Intensification Proposal.
Page last updated: 13 Jul 2020