This advice is intended to assist permit applicants in planning for subdivision, and the preparation of planning applications for subdivision.

Subdivision involves dividing a property into smaller lots that can be sold separately. It can also include the realignment or alterations to title boundaries even if the number of lots do not change.

Whether you are applying for a subdivision permit or considering subdividing your land, you will need to consider the following.

Can I subdivide?

Before making an application to subdivide, you should ensure that the possibility of subdivision is permissible (this will generally be dictated by your land’s zoning provisions in the Nillumbik Planning Scheme). You should also consider whether the proposed subdivision is consistent with Local Planning Policy of the Nillumbik Planning Scheme. Due to the complexity of the controls within the Nillumbik Planning Scheme, it is imperative that you confirm permit and information requirements with officers of Council’s Planning Unit before preparing an application for subdivision.

The Subdivision Process

There are four main stages in the subdivision process:

  1. Apply for and obtain a planning permit for the subdivision. If successful, this approves (in principle) the plan of subdivision under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and the Nillumbik Planning Scheme
  2. Apply for and obtain a certified plan of subdivision. This approves the plan of subdivision under the Subdivision Act 1988
  3. Complete requirements to allow issue of a Statement of Compliance for the plan of subdivision under the Subdivision Act 1988. This is the final approval letter issued after all requirements have been met to Council’s satisfaction
  4. Lodgement of the certified plan of subdivision, Statement of Compliance and any other plans or documents prepared by your land surveyor at Land Victoiria. This allows new titles to be issued for each lot created. Council does not lodge the plan at Land Victoria. Your solicitor or conveyancer will usually deal with this stage

What is the Planning Scheme?

The Nillumbik Planning Scheme sets out rules and regulations used to assess planning permit applications for subdivision and the removal and variation of easements and restrictions.

The Nillumbik Planning Scheme is available for viewing at the Shire offices or on the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure (DTPLI) website There is also a direct link to this website from Council’s website.

What does certifying a plan of subdivision mean?

The certification process requires a plan of subdivision prepared by a licensed land surveyor to be lodged at Council with a Form 1 certification application under the Subdivision Act 1988. The plan shows the proposed lots, size, area and any easements required. The certification application is referred by Council to any relevant referral and servicing authorities (which may include VicRoads, Yarra Valley Water, Melbourne Water, AusNet Electricity Services, AusNet Transmission Group, APA Group, Country Fire Authority, and Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning). These authorities have 28 days in which to respond to the referral with any conditions they may to choose to place on the application. Your plans cannot be certified by Council until a planning permit has been issued for the subdivision and pre-certification requirements are met, such as registration of a Section 173 Agreement. However, the two processes can run concurrently.

What does Statement of Compliance mean?

A Statement of Compliance issued by Council is required to be lodged at Land Victoria by the applicant to allow separate titles to be created for each of the lots on the certified plan. In order to obtain a Statement of Compliance, each of the referral authorities must advise Council in writing that all of their conditions have been met to their satisfaction. There are usually other conditions included on your planning permit that must be met before a Statement of Compliance can be issued.

What happens once a Statement of Compliance has been issued?

Once your Statement of Compliance has been issued, you (or your surveyor or solicitor) will need to lodge it at Land Victoria along with the certified plan and other documents which your surveyor will provide. Land Victoria will then create individual titles for the lots in your subdivision.

What is a Section 173 Agreement?

A Section 173 Agreement is a legal agreement made between Council and another party or parties, under Section 173 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987. The landowner is the other party to the Agreement, while in some cases a third party, such as a referral authority may also be involved. An agreement provides additional planning controls where a condition on a permit or Planning Scheme controls is insufficient.

The obligations and requirements of a Section 173 Agreement are on new property titles after subdivision. Therefore, the new landowners of these properties should be aware of the requirements and obligations placed on them by the Section 173 Agreement (refer to planning advice 18 Section 173 Agreements).

If a planning permit requires you to enter into a Section 173 Agreement (which are usually prepared by a solicitor), all costs through to the registration of the agreement are to be met by the applicant.

Preparing your documentation for subdivision

An application for a planning permit must be made on the appropriate form, together with a plan of your proposed subdivision. If only applying for a planning permit, less formal plans are required, however you will need to contact a licensed Land Surveyor to provide the necessary forms and draw up plans for certification. A checklist is below outlining the information required to make an application to subdivide land or existing buildings. A well prepared submission will assist Council in processing applications as quickly as possible.

Subdivision before development (for urban land)

For all land in urban zones, while it is possible to apply to subdivide your land before obtaining approval to develop your land, it is Council’s preference that approval for a development is obtained before applying to subdivide your land. This will enable all development matters to be considered in the planning process. Some exceptions may apply to larger subdivisions (ie. more than 10 lots) on urban zoned land.

Subdivision in rural areas

For all land contained within rural zones, subdivision may not be permissible if each proposed lot cannot meet the minimum lot size within the applicable schedule of the zone. The Green Wedge Zone and each schedule of the Rural Conservation Zone prescribe a minimum lot size as follows:

  • 1 hectare for Rural Conservation Zone (Schedule 1)
  • 2 hectares for Rural Conservation Zone (Schedule 2)
  • 8 hectares for Rural Conservation Zone (Schedule 3)
  • 40 hectares for Rural Conservation Zone (Schedules 4 and 5)
  • 40 hectares for Green Wedge Zone

Notwithstanding the minimum permissible lot sizes, planning applications relating to rural land must have regard to Clause 22.02 of the Planning Scheme, which sets out the Subdivision in Green Wedge Areas Policy. The objectives and directions contained within this policy guide discretionary decision-making.

Development plans

Land within the Shire that is covered by a Development Plan Overlay in the Nillumbik Planning Scheme has an approved ‘development plan’ which sets out broad strategies, layouts, and subdivision requirements.  Subdivisions proposed within these locations (parts of Diamond Creek and Plenty) should be planned in accordance with the approved development plan.

Development contributions

Land covered by a Development Plan Overlay is also covered by a Development Contributions Plan Overlay. This overlay has an approved development contributions plan for the purpose of levying contributions for the future provision of works, services and facilities.

A development contribution is required to be paid by the developer prior to the issue of a Statement of Compliance for the plan of subdivision.Development contribution rates shown in an approved development contributions plan are adjusted at June 30 each year in accordance with the annual change in the consumer price index.

Public open space contributions

When proposing to subdivide land into three or more lots, or two or more if the any lot could be further subdivided in the future, assessment is made for a contribution to Council for the upgrade and/or purchase of land for open space such as public parks, playgrounds and reserves. Under Section 18 of the of the Subdivision Act 1988, you are likely to be required to pay to Council a percentage of the site value not exceeding 5%, or set aside up to 5% of the land on the plan of subdivision for public open space, or a combination of both. This does not apply to land within the Development Plan Overlay (Schedule 4) which requires a 7.9% of the site value contribution.

Other approvals

Applicants will need to satisfy the requirements of Council’s Infrastructure Development Section (for roads, vehicle crossings and drainage), the building regulations, Public Health Unit requirements (for septic tanks and effluent disposal where relevant) and local laws (where relevant), as well as the requirements of relevant referral authorities for the servicing of the land.


This advice is to be used as a general guide only. Council has made all reasonable effort to ensure the information is true and accurate. However, it is recommended that readers seek professional advice before acting or making decisions on the basis of this information. For any questions or clarification, please contact Council’s Planning and Building Services on 9433 3343.

Checklist for planning assessment

The following information (as a minimum) must accompany any planning permit application for the subdivision of land.

  • Appropriate application fee (schedule of fees available at Shire offices or on Council’s website)
  • Completed application form (form available at Shire offices or on Council’s website)
  • Full copy of property title, searched from Land Victoria within the last 6 months, along with copies of any restrictions, covenants or agreements (available from Land Victoria or
  • Three copies of a scaled and fully dimensioned Existing Conditions Plan, showing (as a minimum)
    • the location of all existing buildings, structures and vegetation
    • internal building layout for existing buildings and structures
    • the location and layout of driveways and car parking areas
    • contours/site levels
    • the location of effluent disposal system (for non-sewered properties)
  • Three copies of a scaled and fully dimensioned Site Plan, showing (where relevant)
    • the location of existing buildings on adjacent properties (including nominated setbacks from the common boundaries to the subject site)
    • the location of existing and proposed buildings (including nominated setbacks from boundaries and other key site features)
    • any existing or proposed earthworks
    • location of existing individual trees within 10 metres of all proposed buildings, structures and excavations
    • all trees to be removed and those to be retained
    • the setback of the buildings and works from title boundaries
    • details and location of any car parking structures, areas and accessways
  • Three copies of a Plan of Subdivision drawn to scale showing
    • the proposed configuration of the lots, including any common property
    • any existing or proposed easements
    • dimensions of boundaries
    • lot sizes
    • adjoining roads
  • A written report including information on the number of lots, the lot sizes, access details for each of the lots, type of roads and the existence of stormwater drainage infrastructure, the services to be provided, and other details (as relevant)
  • For applications relating to residential subdivision within the General Residential Zone (GRZ, R1Z, R2Z or R3Z) or Township Zones, three copies of a Subdivision Site and Context Plan, as required by Clause 56.01-1 of the Nillumbik Planning Scheme (ResCode), must be provided, together with a Subdivision Design Response, as required by Clause 56.01-2 of the Nillumbik Planning Scheme (ResCode)
  • Ten sets of photo reduced A3 plans of all plans outlined above
  • A written submission detailing how the proposal responds to the provisions of the relevant zone, overlays, particular provisions and State and local planning policies (as appropriate)
  • For residential subdivisions (in General Residential Zone (GRZ, R1Z, R2Z or R3Z) or Township Zone), a written response to the objectives and standards of Clause 56 (ResCode) in the Nillumbik Planning Scheme relating to subdivision must be provided
  • Where there are existing trees on the subject site or trees on adjoining properties proximite to future buildings within the subdivision, a report from a qualified arborist (an Arborist Report) must be obtained and submitted. This report should provide the following details
    • the species, height, girth, canopy width and approximate age of the tree(s) to be removed
    • a statement regarding the health, structure and vigour of the tree(s)
    • comments in relation to the future health of the tree
    • a recommendation based on all of the above
  • For subdivisions requiring the removal of 0-10 trees on lots greater than 1 acre (4000 square metres), an Arborist Report must be submitted as outlined in the previous dot point. This report will then be used by Council to ascertain appropriate offset requirements for the native vegetation removal proposed
  • For subdivisions requiring the removal of 10+ trees (and/or the removal of patches of understorey vegetation which is construed as significant remnant vegetation) on lots greater than 1 acre (4000 square metres), a Flora and Fauna and Net Gain Assessment prepared by a suitably qualified professional (in accordance with the State Government’s Native Vegetation Management Framework) will be required to calculate appropriate offset planting requirements
  • For subdivisions on non-sewered land (within Low Density Residential Zone, Rural Conservation Zone or Green Wedge Zone), areas set aside for septic systems for proposed lots on the plans must be provided, with those areas designated for septic systems and associated wastewater treatment and disposal shown away from existing native vegetation
  • For subdivisions on non-sewered land, a Land Capability Assessment prepared by an appropriately qualified professional should be provided which demonstrates that the land is capable of treating and retaining all wastewater in accordance with the State Environment Protection Policy (Waters of Victoria) under the Environment Protection Act 1970
  • Where possible, a CD containing a copy of all plans and associated reports in a PDF format

Checklist for certification

The following information must be provided when applying to have a Plan of Subdivision certified

  • A signed application for certification (Form 1) with owner consent section signed
  • Appropriate application fee ($170.50)
  • If not not lodged in SPEAR, ten copies of the Plan of Subdivision for referral and processing by Council and referral authorities
  • Full copy of property title for the parent lot, searched from Land Victoria within the last 6 months, along with copies of any restrictions, covenants or agreements (available from Land Victoria or

The above checklist ensures that all documents are submitted to Council to initiate the assessment of the planning application or certification application. Additional information may be required depending on the precise nature of the proposal and any site-specific considerations. If planning applications are lodged without sufficient information for Council assessment, Council will formally request more information in accordance with the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

Please check Council's other planning advice pages (and their checklists) for relevance to your proposal. If applicable, the information requirements provided in that checklist should also be provided when lodging your application.