Planning Investigations

All use and development of land in the Hume Municipality must comply with the City of Hume Planning Scheme and Planning legislation. Council's Planning Investigation Officers conduct investigations of planning compliance issues and are authorised to take enforcement action.

Investigation Process

Step 1.Initial Investigations

Planning Investigation Officers conduct an initial assessment to establish whether the report requires further investigation. This includes checking whether the activity reported requires a Planning Permit, whether there is a current permit in place, what that permit allows, and any other planning controls or exemptions.

Step 2.Further Investigations

If an investigation is warranted, Officers will undertake further inquiries. This may involve notifying landowners/occupiers of the investigation and seeking information from them about the report. Officers may also inspect the land.

Step 3.Possible Actions

Planning officers have multiple enforcement options available to them when they have identified an apparent breach.These include:

  • Taking no further action if there is insufficient evidence
  • Negotiating voluntary compliance
  • Issuing an Official Warning
  • Issuing a Planning Infringement Notice
  • Seeking an Enforcement Order from VCAT
  • Seeking to cancel or amend a Planning Permit in VCAT
  • Prosecuting for the breach in Court and seeking a conviction and monetary penalties.

Step 4.Resolution

The enforcement step or action taken depends on the circumstances of each case. The same infringement notice or action does not have to be followed in every matter.  Planning enforcement steps take time and rarely provide immediate results. If it becomes necessary to commence court or VCAT proceedings, the timeframe will be even longer.

Report Issue

Report a planning issue to us using our form below.

Click here to view form.

Alternatively, you can report an issue by emailing or by calling 9205 2200

What are the Planning Laws?

Our Planning Laws include the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and regulations, the Hume Planning Scheme, Planning Permits issued under the Planning Scheme and Section 173 Agreements entered into between Council and landowners.

These laws are designed to regulate the use and development of land in our municipality to encourage proper use, development, and protection of land. Council is responsible for enforcing the planning laws in our municipality to support community safety and amenity.

What do we investigate?

Planning investigation Officers investigate alleged breaches to the Hume Planning Scheme and Planning Permits for use and developments of land in Hume. Some examples may include: 

  • A new use of land that is prohibited by the Planning Scheme or requires a Planning Permit to be lawful.
  • Buildings and works occurring without a required planning permit
  • Breaches or non-compliance with an issued Planning Permit.
  • Unlawful removal, destruction or lopping of protected vegetation under the Planning Scheme.
  • Operating a non-compliant home business
  • Operating a motor vehicle wrecking business in a residential area
  • Operating a waste recycling or landfill business in a residential area
  • Beekeeping and the Apiary Code of Practice

Please contact Council if you are unsure whether a use of land requires a planning permit. 

When do we investigate?

Council may investigate a reported planning compliance issue:

  • In response to reports from residents, internal Council referrals, and State and Federal Government agencies.
  • From our proactive auditing of land use and developments, current Planning Permits and Section 173 Agreements.
  • Following identification of changes to use or developments, or vegetation cover, on land using GIS mapping or satellite imagery.

Please note that Council officers will determine the appropriate course of action based on a consideration of all the facts of the case and exercise of discretion. 

How long does Council have to take action?

The Statute of Limitations for planning enforcements matters are written in the applicable legislation.  If not listed, there is a default period of 12 months.

Formal enforcement action must begin within 12 months from the date that the breach was detected or came to notice. If a non-ongoing offence first came to notice over 12 months ago, Council cannot commence legal proceedings regarding that breach. 

What are authorised officers?

Planning Investigation Officers are authorised officers under planning laws. They are authorised to do the following things as part of their duties:

  • Issue Planning Infringement Notices.
  • Enter onto any land at any reasonable time.
  • Take any action on entering land that is necessary to determine if a contravention has occurred, including taking photographs, recordings and removing samples.

Privacy laws prevent Council from divulging details of an investigation to third parties. This includes complainants, witnesses, and elected members.