Clause 56 and council permits

Clause 56.07-4 of the Victorian Planning Provisions, commonly referred to as Clause 56, sets stormwater management objectives that residential subdivisions must meet. These objectives are designed to reduce the harm to our waterways, bays and ocean.

Local councils and the Victorian Government are responsible for Clause 56, and Melbourne Water also plays a role.

Drainage schemes 

Melbourne Water has created Drainage Schemes in some parts of our service area. These schemes usually include a masterplan for meeting Clause 56, and some developer constructed assets will be transferred to Melbourne Water.

Local planning provisions

Stormwater management should be considered in the earliest stages of planning – ideally in the master planning stage, long before subdivision permit applications. For example, setting aside land for stormwater treatment in road or drainage reserves can meet the objectives for subdivisions of more than a few lots.

Individual councils have their own preferences and requirements for achieving the Clause 56 objectives, and some have local planning provisions that apply to new buildings and extensions. To prove the design of the development achieves these objectives, as well as Clause 56, they will usually require a software model such as MUSIC or the STORM calculator.

STORM and MUSIC tools

Councils with local planning provisions

The following councils have set stormwater management objectives that apply more broadly than Clause 56:

  • Bayside City Council – Planning Scheme Clause 22.08
  • Darebin City Council – Planning Scheme Clause 22.12
  • Hume City Council – Industrial Stormwater Code of Practice
  • Kingston City Council – Planning Scheme Clause 22.20
  • Manningham City Council – Planning Scheme Clause 22.12
  • Melbourne City Council – Planning Scheme Clause 22.23
  • Monash City Council – Planning Scheme Clause 22.13
  • Moonee Valley City Council – Planning Scheme Clause 22.03
  • Moreland City Council – Planning Scheme Clause 22.08
  • Port Phillip City Council – Planning Scheme Clause 22.12
  • Stonnington City Council – Planning Scheme Clause 22.18
  • Whitehorse City Council – Planning Scheme Clause 22.10
  • Yarra City Council – Planning Scheme Clause 22.16
  • Yarra Ranges Shire Council – Planning Scheme Schedule 2 to Clause 42.01 (Environmental Significance Overlay for Little Stringybark Creek catchment)

The Environmental Significance Overlay that applies to the Little Stringybark Creek catchment in Mt Evelyn area sets specific stormwater requirements designed to support the restoration of Little Stringybark Creek. There requirements apply to any buildings or works increasing the hard surface cover of a property by more than 10m². You can find more information on requirements on the Little Stringybark Creek ESO pre-development advice page.

Search for planning schemes by council at Planning Schemes Online.

Achieving best practice

Although commonly referred to as 'best practice', the Clause 56 objectives are a minimum requirement that will still result in stormwater harming our waterways. We can go beyond these requirements by mimicking natural stormwater runoff patterns, which essentially involves:

  • maximising pervious ground cover – grass and gardens
  • minimising impervious ground cover – roofs and other hard surfaces

Achieving best practice stormwater management requires a series of stormwater treatments to remove gross pollutants (leaf and other litter), sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus before they reach our waterways.

To achieve best practice at the household scale, rainwater tanks plumbed into the toilet, and raingardens are often used. At the neighbourhood scale, the low flows from the stormwater pipe are diverted through a gross pollutant trap, sediment pond and wetland or raingarden.

Further guidance on meeting best practice can be found in the Urban Stormwater Best Practice Environmental Management Guidelines, available from CSIRO Publishing.

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