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The purpose of Ministerial Direction No. 1 (MD No. 1) is to ensure that potentially contaminated land is suitable for a use which is proposed to be allowed under an amendment to a planning scheme and which could be significantly affected by any contamination.

An updated Direction incorporating changes to align with the Environment Protection Act 2017 was gazetted on 27 August 2021.

When MD No. 1 applies

The Direction contains requirements for amendments which allow land to be used for a sensitive use, children's playground or secondary school. Sensitive use means residential use, child care centre, kindergarten, pre-school centre or primary school, even if ancillary to another use. 

The Direction also contains requirements for amendments which allow land to be used for agriculture or public open space. Where these uses are allowed on ‘potentially contaminated land’, the planning authority must satisfy itself that the land is or will be suitable for that use.  

For the purpose of this Direction, ‘potentially contaminated land’ means land:
  • used or known to have been used for industry or mining;
  • used or known to have been used for the storage of chemicals, gas, waste or liquid fuel (other than minor above-ground storage that is ancillary to another use of the land); or
  • where a known past or present activity or event (occurring on or off the land) may have caused contamination on the land.

To further explain this definition, Planning Practice Note 30 – Potentially Contaminated Land (DELWP, 2021) (PPN30) provides a list of land uses with the potential to contaminate. The Direction supports addressing potentially contaminated land when the amendment is being prepared. However, where this is difficult or inappropriate, the Directional allows the environmental audit system requirements to be deferred by the application of the Environmental Audit Overlay (EAO) to the land.  

EPA’s involvement

Once we receive a proposed planning scheme amendment, we will review whether the planning authority has addressed the requirements of the direction. If an amendment allows sensitive use, children's playground or secondary schools or other listed use, the requirements of Ministerial Direction No. 1 are triggered and must be addressed. The requirements vary depending on the nature of the amendment, but can include:

  • documenting a determination   that land is not potentially contaminated in the Explanatory Report; or,
  • satisfying themselves that the land is suitable for use through the environmental audit system under the Environment Protection Act 2017.

Prior to the exhibition of a planning scheme amendment, EPA can support the planning authority in meeting the requirements of the Direction. However, it is the responsibility of the planning authority to ensure that they are satisfied the land is suitable for its intended use.

What EPA needs to see in an amendment

Information that will help us provide informed advice includes:

  • justification as to how the amendment complies with potentially contaminate land guidance and policy
  • a history of previous and current uses of the land (this information can be obtained through the planning/building permit history, rates records, archives from libraries, aerial photos)
  • a history of previous and current uses of the surrounding sites (as above)
  • evidence of the current/previous zone and any overlays/relevant provisions
  • a site layout plan identifying the features of the subject site and surrounding sites
  • any reports that document investigations, assessments, sampling, or validation of the subject site
  • any remediation by a suitably qualified environmental professional or environmental auditor*
  • any environmental assessment reports or audits of nearby land
  • any known or potential contamination on nearby properties or groundwater
  • evidence that the land can be remediated to a level that would make it suitable for the proposed use, such as a clean-up plan or site remediation strategy. 

For more information about the Victorian planning system, see www.planning.vic.gov.au

Planning guidance 

Ministerial Direction 19

Strategic planning

Statutory planning

Guidance on works approvals and licences

Our approach to managing contamination in Victoria

This page was copied from EPA's old website. It was last updated on 26 June 2019.

Reviewed 21 August 2023