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The Infrastructure Design Manual (IDM) has been prepared by and for rural and regional municipalities, to clearly document and standardise councils’ requirements for the design and development of municipal infrastructure.  It also aims to expedite councils’ engineering approvals and ensure that minimum design criteria are met for design and construction of municipal infrastructure by developers and councils alike. The IDM is owned and maintained by the Local Government Infrastructure Design Association Incorporated (LGIDA).

The IDM is used on a ‘day-to-day’ basis in member municipalities in the assessment of subdivision and development applications, and the application of planning permit conditions.

The IDM sets out the engineering information that Council will normally expect developers to provide, at a level of detail appropriate to the relevant stage in the planning approval process, when:

  • Applying for a Planning Scheme Amendment
  • Submitting a Precinct Structure Plan for review
  • Submitting a Development Plan for review
  • Applying for a Planning Permit
  • Submitting Engineering Plans and Computations

In summary, the IDM provides for the management of:

  • vehicle access, roads and traffic
  • Stormwater drainage
  • flooding
  • earthworks
  • fees and contributions
  • construction impacts
  • landscaping
  • lighting and other infrastructure

The IDM addresses residential, commercial, industrial and rural subdivision and development. The current Clause 56 (residential subdivision) of Victoria’s Planning Schemes provides objectives and standards for residential subdivision only.

In 2015, an Advisory Committee was set up to review the potential implementation of the Infrastructure Design Manual into planning schemes across Victoria. In relation to residential subdivision, the Committee believes that the IDM should complement, but be subordinate to, Clause 56, and that any IDM variations to Clause 56 standards need to be clearly justified against the relevant Clause 56 objective as part of the planning permit process.

At the time of writing, Greater Shepparton Council is seeking to formally introduce the IDM into the Greater Shepparton Planning Scheme by including it as a ‘Reference Document’. The Amendment was prepared by Council with a view to being used as a ‘pilot’ for other councils to follow suit. As a result of the exhibition of the Planning Scheme Amendment C112, a Panel was appointed to consider the submissions, and provided the Greater Shepparton C112 Panel Report to the City of Greater Shepparton in June 2015.  The report will be used as a basis for further consultation on the introduction of the IDM into other planning schemes.

The Advisory Committee report was released in September 2016. In summary, the Report recommends:

  • The Infrastructure Design Manual be introduced in the Municipal Strategic Statement (Clause 21) of regional council planning schemes, and include the IDM as a reference document; and
  • The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning review Clause 56 of the Victoria Planning Provisions, particularly with respect to the currency and completeness of standards and;
  • Some other minor alterations.

According to the IDM Advisory Committee Report (6 October 2015), only West Wimmera Shire and Hindmarsh Shire are not members or ‘coming-on-board’ members using the IDM

The advisory Committee recommends that the Planning Minister incorporates the IDM in regional and rural planning schemes under Section 20(4)[i] of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 where a Council:

  • Has formally adopted the IDM;
  • Is a member of the LGIDA;
  • Has consistently applied the IDM over a period of time; and
  • Can demonstrate general support for using the IDM as a ‘guideline’ document within the local development community.

Otherwise the IDM should be introduced through the normal planning scheme amendment process.

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