Statutory Planning and Development

Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) is a referral authority for 26 local government areas across Northern Victoria in accordance with the Planning and Environment Act 1987. This vast area encompasses the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District and 43 Special Water Supply Catchments.

GMW’s areas of interest are surface water and groundwater quality, use and disposal. GMW requires that development proposals do not impact detrimentally on GMW’s infrastructure and the flow and quality of surface water and groundwater.

As a referral authority, GMW assesses the impact any land use and development applications may have on water quality and GMW’s assets and infrastructure.

Applicants must ensure that any required water supplies are available from an approved source. 

Applications referred to GMW in accordance with the Planning & Environment Act 1987.

VicSmart applications

VicSmart is a simple and fast planning permit process for straightforward applications. Clause 71.06 of the relevant Planning Scheme sets out the VicSmart Planning Applications and Process.

Should a VicSmart application require referral to GMW under Clause 66 of the Planning Scheme, written consent must be obtained from GMW before lodging the application with Council. The written consent must not be older than three months.

If an applicant does not obtain this consent or GMW objects, the application cannot be a VicSmart application and the applicant must apply through the regular permit application process. The following documentation should be provided with your VicSmart application:

  • Details of the applicant and the land owner
  • Application details, such as the current land use, the proposed land use.
  • Plans – a copy of plans for your proposed development. The plans must have dimensions, be drawn to scale and show the details of all buildings or other structures proposed.
  • Map – clearly showing setback distances of proposed buildings and any existing wastewater disposal areas from any water features. These include: channels and drains, waterways, drainage lines, dams and bores.  The applicable setback distances are derived from Table 5 of the EPA Code of Practice – Onsite Wastewater Management, Publication 891.4, July 2016.
  • Title details – A current copy of the Certificate of Title for your property (less than 3 months old). The Certificate of Title should include full information of any covenants or restrictions on the title and a plan or diagram showing the lot layout and dimensions.

Download the VicSmart Application Form., opens in a new window

Section 52 and 55 Referrals 

Local Government (Councils) are generally the responsible authority who manages and approves planning permit applications.  Councils are required to refer applications to relevant referral authorities which GMW is appointed under Clause 66 of the Planning Scheme. 

GMW may either be a determining referral authority in accordance with Section 55 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (the Act), or a recommending referral authority under the provisions of the Act. GMW can object to the granting of a permit, decide not to object or specify conditions to be included on a permit for both types of referral.  However the effect of that advice on the final outcome of an application is different for each type of application.

Please contact your local Council planning department for further information related to planning permit applications.

Links to relevant guidelines and references

If you require advice from GMW on a proposed development, subdivision or GMW land and assets please complete the General Land Enquiries form (PS013), which can be found on our Forms page.