VCAT Hearings and How to Lodge an Appeal
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) is an independent body responsible for hearing any appeal relating to planning permits and the enforcement of the Yarra Ranges Planning Scheme (eg enforcement orders). Hearings are listed under the Planning and Environment section of VCAT. The State Government appoints VCAT members to hear appeals, who are qualified planners and specialists in related fields.
Anyone involved in a permit application, including the applicant and objectors, can lodge an application to VCAT if they are unhappy with our decision. Such applications are referred to as an "Application for Review". A fee is payable when an application is lodged.
Lodging an appeal is a very serious matter that must be considered carefully as it involves a lot of time and expense on behalf of all other parties involved in the application or case. Once an application has been made to VCAT for review, it can only withdrawn in agreement with VCAT.
What happens at an appeal hearing?
All VCAT hearings are open to the public and are held at 55 King Street, Melbourne. All of the parties involved in the application or enforcement issue make a verbal and written submission to the Tribunal. It is common for people to make their own presentation to the Tribunal.
Lawyers or consultants are often hired to act on behalf of various parties, particularly if the matter is a complex one. Sometimes other experts are also hired as witnesses to provide specialist input, for example a heritage specialist or a landscape architect. During the hearing other parties can choose to cross examin those have made a verbal submission.
Once hearing all of the submissions the Tribunal then adjourns to consider the information put to it. Usually the member(s) also visit the site. A written decision is then issued, which is based on the proposal's planning merits. As part of the decision, the Tribunal will direct Council to take a certain course of action. Council must implement this action.
For more detailed information about the appeal process, including application forms and fees please view the related links on this page.
Fore more information about lodging an appeal or the appeal process, contact the VCAT Planning and Environment directly on 9628 9777 or fax on 9628 9789.