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The way to request a pre-set panel hearing date and formally request a panel has changed.

From Monday 3 April 2023, planning authorities submit these requests to Planning Panels Victoria in the Amendment Tracking System.

Pre-setting panel hearing dates provides an agreed timeframe for public hearings to consider submissions on proposed planning scheme amendments.

The planning scheme amendment process requires that before notice of an amendment is given, a planning authority must, with our agreement, set a date for a directions hearing and a panel hearing to consider submissions that must be referred.

Pre-set panel hearing dates can be requested by Planning Authorities via the Amendment Tracking System.

What to consider when setting hearing dates

  • realistic timeframes – it is assumed the panel will proceed on exhibited pre-set dates, any changes to these are an exception
  • include time for 2 rounds of council meetings (in case the matter misses the agenda for the first one)
  • allow 4 weeks between the formal panel request from the planning authority and the directions hearing
  • allow 4 weeks between the directions hearing and panel hearing
  • consider likelihood of expert evidence, number of submissions and complexity of the matter as you may require longer time frames between the directions hearing and the panel hearing, for example: 6 weeks.

Some example timings are:

  • Structure plan: 6 weeks
  • Heritage overlays: 6 weeks
  • Policy: 4 weeks
  • Major site-specific amendment: 6 to 8 weeks

Requesting pre-set hearing dates

Before giving notice of a planning scheme amendment, a planning authority must apply to us and agree on dates for the directions hearing and hearing.

  1. Authorisation to prepare amendment granted

    Planning authority has 40 business days to give notice of exhibition of the amendment.

  2. Before notice of the amendment is given

    Planning authority contacts the panel coordinator to discuss hearing dates.

  3. At least 25 business days before exhibition starts

    Planning authority submits a request to pre-set dates.

  4. Within 15 business days of the request to pre-set dates

    Pre-set dates are confirmed with the planning authority and they advise the proponent of the agreed dates.

  5. 10 business days before commencing exhibition

    Pre-set dates are finalised.

  6. Within 5 business days of exhibition closing

    Planning authority advises the number of submissions received and the likelihood of a panel being required.

  7. Within 40 business days of exhibition closing

    Planning authority requests a panel.

  8. Panel appointed

    The panel must commence its functions within 20 business days of the appointment.

  9. Directions hearing and panel hearings

    As per the pre-set date window set out in exhibited documentation.

  10. Panel submits its report to the planning authority

Changes to pre-set dates


Revised pre-set panel hearing dates can be requested by Planning Authorities via the Amendment Tracking System.

Within 15 business days after receiving the request to revise the pre-set the hearing dates, we will confirm the agreed dates with the planning authority.

If there is a proponent or major affected landowner involved, they must be notified by the planning authority of the new agreed pre-set dates. for example, precinct structure plans or major site-specific amendments.

Where pre-set exhibited dates are not met

In exceptional circumstances, where exhibited pre-set dates cannot be met, you will need to make a formal request to the Chief Panel Member, by email to the panel coordinator, seeking approval for revised dates. This request should include:

  • a reason why the exhibited pre-set dates cannot be met
  • new dates proposed
  • how any proponent or major affected landowner have been consulted about the proposed date changes
  • how any proponent or major affected landowner will be notified about any date changes if approved.

After the exhibition process

Before submitting a formal request to appoint a panel

Within five business days from the closing date for the receipt of submissions, the planning authority is required to advise the panel coordinator by email of the number of submissions received, and the likelihood of the matter being referred to a panel.

Formal request to appoint a panel

A formal request is required after the planning authority has decided to refer the submissions to a panel. This is due within 40 business days of the closing date for submissions.

After receiving the formal panel request, the Chief Panel Member will appoint the panel.

If the pre-set dates cannot be met or the matter does not need to be referred to a panel, the planning authority must advise the panel coordinator as soon as possible

Practice Note 3 — Presetting panel hearing dates

Page last updated: 01/07/24