Integrated Water Management Reform
There are many initiatives underway in Melbourne’s water sector, including policy reform, collaborative water planning, and development and release of strategies and tools.
With so many changes underway, it can be difficult to keep informed and up-to-date. Understanding the objectives of these reforms and initiatives, and how to become involved in decision-making is important for local government stakeholders.
Find information about key updates below.
Review and adjustments
Keep track of policy and legislative reform relating to stormwater management.
State Environment Planning Policy
This legislation sunset in 2018 and statutorily is required to be reviewed every 10 years.
- Recognition that stormwater as a resource should be retained where it falls
- Retention of the Best Practice Environmental Management guidelines as the main regulatory tool for new developments (consistent standard with Victorian Planning Provisions)
- The need to strengthen obligations for owners / managers of stormwater assets to maintain them for the purpose they were constructed (including a maintenance program) and ensure outfalls meet requirements of receiving waters
- Retention of the obligation for local government and partners to develop and implement stormwater management plans.
Medium potential consequence
Emerging changes may provide additional obligations for stormwater management initiatives including requirements to develop stormwater management plans. Any changes to maintenance requirements could have a direct financial impact on Melbourne Water and councils.
Draft policy for public consultation has been released through the Engage Victoria platform (also including a policy impact statement and implementation plan)
March 2018 to June 2018
The draft policy will be advertised for 21 days, with a mandatory three-month consultation period with opportunities for council input.
The Municipal Association of Victoria is monitoring the State Environment Planning Poilcy review and can provide updates on the status of the review, council consultation opportunities and planned submissions on behalf of the sector via Water Policy Manager Rosemary Hancock.
You can also have your say via the Engage Victoria platform.
Local Government Act
The Local Government Victoria Directions Paper 2016, Act for the Future, suggested that the role of councils in local drainage, waterways and flood management should be reviewed, and that any required changes be included in the new Local Government Act or the Water Act.
Councils’ drainage authorisations are currently not included in the exposure draft. The Directions Paper indicated that consultation would be undertaken if the powers were to be more prescribed or moved to the Water Act, however this consultation has not occurred.
The Municipal Association of Victoria's current position is that current drainage provisions should remain in the Local Government Act, pending the outcome of any changes which may be recommended through the Melbourne Urban Stormwater Institutional Arrangements (60 Hectare Rule) review. There are significant resourcing and legal questions which can arise from even small wording changes, so the Municipal Association of Victoria strongly recommends that detailed consultation is undertaken with the sector before any changes are made.
High potential consequence
There are significant resourcing and legal questions which can arise from even small wording changes.
Local Government Bill Exposure Draft released for consultation (Submissions closed 16 March 2018)
Implementation of new Act
The Municipal Association of Victoria is preparing a submission on behalf of the local government sector and holding a series of consultation opportunities for councils. Submissions will be published online. The Municipal Association of Victoria will update councils on changes to the adopted legislation and potential impacts. Please contact Rosemary Hancock for updates relating to potential changes to drainage provisions.
60 Hectare Rule
Flood Management Strategy Port Phillip and Westernport 2015
Action 18.1 Continue dialogue on the 60ha threshold approach to delineating accountabilities for flood and drainage infrastructure and flood management services.
Victorian Flood Plain Management Strategy 2016
Action 14a Review the institutional arrangements governing the accountabilities for urban stormwater flood risk management for the Port Phillip and Westport region (60ha rule).
Current arrangements have evolved as a convention and do not assign clear roles, responsibilities and resourcing for stormwater drainage assets and services between councils and Melbourne Water. The Melbourne Urban Stormwater Institutional Arrangements Review is considering the role of councils and Melbourne Water in stormwater management. The review is also considering how future roles and responsibilities can account for management of population changes and climate change impacts for stormwater management issues.
High potential consequence
Any changes to this informal rule would have important financial and practical impacts on Melbourne Water and councils, because they may be expected to manage more, or less, infrastructure.
Consultation on the Melbourne Urban Stormwater Institutional Arrangements review between the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Melbourne Water, the Municipal Association of Victoria and a local government steering group
A draft agreement is expected
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Melbourne Water and the Municipal Association of Victoria have agreed to a process and governance arrangements for the Melbourne Urban Stormwater Institutional Arrangements review. The Municipal Association of Victoria is coordinating a local government working group. If councils would like to be involved or informed of outcomes of this review please contact Senior Water Policy Adviser Heather McClaren.
Victorian Planning Provisions Clause 56.07-4 & Best Practice Environmental Management guidelines
Water for Victoria Action 5.5 commits the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to:
- Amend the Victorian Planning Provisions and related building regulations aimed at improving stormwater management
- Lead the development of local place-based targets for stormwater management
- Find the best mix of legislative, regulatory, financial and market-based incentives to complement the Victorian Planning Provisions and building regulations.
Yarra River Action Plan Action 19 commits to:
- extend coverage of stormwater provisions in the Victorian Planning Provisions to apply to all subdivisions.
Plan Melbourne Action 80 relates to:
- reviewing planning and building systems to support environmentally sustainable outcomes for building. Action 94 is similar to Water for Victoria Action 5.5.
High potential consequence
Any changes to Clause 56.07 and Best Practice Environmental Management guidelines would have significant impacts on urban planning and development, because developers may have to pay for additional infrastructure (or build smarter), but there may also be associated benefits such as increased amenity.
Activities are currently being scoped. The consultation process will be developed as part of the scoping process.
Targeted consultation around Victorian Planning Provisions.
Wider sector consultation on Victorian Planning Provisions.
EPA review on Best Practice Environmental Management guidelines.
These reviews will be an ongoing process over an extended period. Targeted initial consultation around extension of the Victorian Planning Provisions to cover industrial and commercial areas occurred in between October and November 2017. Wider consultation for the local government sector is expected in early 2018.
Please contact Rosemary Hancock, Water Policy Manager, Municipal Association of Victoria, for detailed advice on policy and regulatory changes and related consultation opportunities.