It is a requirement of every local council in Victoria to make sure their planning scheme is being followed.
Sometimes, as part of the planning and building process, rules are broken. At the Campaspe Shire Council, staff work closely with property owners and follow the elements of Compliance 11 (a council adopted document). When these applications are overlooked or permit requirements haven’t been met, council staff prefer to work with owners to ensure compliance.
In some instances, fines may be issued, but where possible, council will give property owners advice and support on rectifying any issues.
Checking permit compliance
Council audits all planning permits after two years. All the work that has been done is checked to ensure it meets requirements. If further action is required, council staff will advise the property owner and provide support in rectifying any issues. Once everything is in order, the permit is signed off.
Complaints made regarding planning, building, environmental health and local laws are investigated by council staff.
The risk associated with any issue that is the subject of a complaint is assessed, as is the complexity of the issue before staff decide how to proceed. For example, a complaint about 50 mature native trees being removed is very different from a complaint about a sign being erected.
Some compliance issues are of a more urgent nature than most and may require immediate action.
Generally, council wants to work with the owner to gain compliance.
At Campaspe Shire Council, we’ve developed an approach to investigating not only breaches of planning laws, but also building, environmental health and local laws breaches. It’s called Compliance 11 and it aims to ensure consistency and fairness in all investigations by any enforcement officer.
It provides helpful advice if you want to make a complaint about a possible breach and informs you of the process council undertakes when investigating potential breaches.
It outlines a working agreement between the community and council in regard to everyone’s conduct during an investigation:
- Treat each other with respect - Be polite and genuinely respectful.
- Take the time to listen, hear and explain the situation, options and consequences - Take everyone’s situation as it comes, take the time to teach and learn.
- Seek a shared understanding - Hear all sides of the story and keep it as simple as you can.
- Meet our obligations and take responsibility for our actions - Know the facts and be accountable.
- Be truthful with each other - Honesty is the best policy so be open and transparent.
- Be consistent and fair - Treat everybody equally.
- Stick to agreed time frames - Take ownership, be flexible and realistic and keep your eye on the main game.
- Tell each other when things change - No surprises and do not presume.
- Be as practical as possible and have a positive attitude - Compliance is the main aim. Use common sense.
It also includes 11 guiding elements for Campaspe’s enforcement officers during any investigation.
You can download Compliance 11 here or contact council’s enforcement officers on 5481 2200 for more information.