Planning Documents

There are many different types of planning documents that are prepared by Local Councils and the State Government.  They are usually revised periodically to adapt to the changing needs of residents, businesses and other stakeholders.  Sometimes the period between reviews is a couple of years and sometimes it may be over ten years.

The document types shown below include sections that have a material impact on the cycling environment and should therefore be reviewed by a bicycle advocate.  The advocate can then provide useful information to Government on the good and bad aspects of the plan to reinforce and commend good planning and to correct bad planning.

Read more below about each type of planning document.

Bicycle Plans

A Bicycle Plan or Bicycle Strategy document is the primary planning instrument used by Local Councils to define how they will provide for bicycle users.  

Bicycle Plans usually include:

  • an evaluation of the current bicycle network and infrastructure (paths, parking, signs etc).
  • an evaluation of current cycling participation rates and attitudes towards bicycle use.
  • a map of the recommended bicycle network.
  • costings and prioritisation of links in the bicycle network.
  • a communications strategy aimed at promoting bicycle riding and improving the attitudes and behaviour of all road users.

How to Prepare a Bicycle Plan

The RMS has prepared a document to provide information to Local Councils, Bicycle User Groups and professional planners who are involved in preparing a Bicycle Plan.

Click here to download the How to Prepare a Bike Plan document.

Find Your Council Bike Plan

The State Government maintain a list of current Bicycle Plans from many Local Councils.  If your Council does not have its Bicycle Plan on this list, ask them why not.

Development Control Plans

A Development Control Plan (DCP) is a non-legal document that provides specific, comprehensive guidelines for certain types of development or certain areas within a Local Government Area. The detailed guidelines contained within a DCP are in addition to the provisions of the legal planning instrument (SEPP, REP or LEP). DCPs are important in the planning system because they provide a flexible means of identifying additional development controls and standards for addressing development issues without the need for a formal statutory plan.

Vision and Objectives

A DCP will have a section that sets out the vision of the plan.  Does this vision include objectives that relate to the use of bicycles for a variety of transport and recreational purposes.

Public Domain

A DCP will have a section dedicated to the Public Domain or Urban Structure.  This section covers a variety of topics that have an impact on bicycle users such as public transport access, design of the street network, open space provisions and active transport provisions.

Public Transport points of interest:

  • Do the plans provide accessibility of train and bus interchanges for bicycle users?
  • Do the plans provide bicycle parking and bicycle facilities such as lockers/showers?

Street Network points of interest:

  • Does the plan include road design diagrams showing bicycle users?
  • Do the road designs use appropriate treatments for bicycle users?

Active Transport points of interest:

  • Does the plan include a bicycle network map?
  • Does the bicycle network provide access to major centres and trip generators?
  • Does the bicycle network provide routes that provide cross-regional connections?

Open Space points of interest:

  • Does the plan include bicycle paths through open spaces?
  • Do the bicycle paths connect the open spaces but also to the greater bicycle network.

Schools and Childcare points of interest:

  • Does the plan consider access to schools and childcare facilities for pedestrians and bicycle users?
  • Does the plan ensure that bicycle parking is provided at schools?
  • Does the plan consider the safety impact of setdown/pickup points on pedestrians and cyclists?

Management Plans

A Management Plan is the Council’s primary corporate planning document.  It outlines the activities and priorities for the next year, thus influencing the Operating Budget and Resources Plan.  

Councils are required by law to prepare an Annual Management Plan and Budget and to fulfill the following obligations:

  • Specifically address issues identified in council’s compulsory State of the Environment Report and other council documents such as their Social Plan.
  • Place the Draft Management Plan on exhibition for at least 28 days.
  • Take into account public submissions in the final documents.
  • Approve the final documents at a Council meeting by the end of the financial year.

Normally, Councils release their Management Plan for public exhibition around May each year.  The public exhibition period (at least 28 days) provides an opportunity for Bicycle User Groups and other interested parties to make submissions.

Council may make the documents available from their Council Chambers, at local libraries or on their website.  Some Councils have a public meeting at which they present the main points and field questions.  To discuss the Management Plan with Council, it is best to speak to a Corporate Planner or the person who prepares the Council Budget.  You can also discuss the Management Plan with Councillors.

Resources Plans

The budget (or “Resources Plan”) should show the allocation for each project for this year, last year and the next two years. For this year, it should also show other sources of funding for that allocation, for example, from grants (from RMS, Federal Roads to Recovery, Sport & Rec, etc) or from Section 94 (developer) contributions.

If you want to have some input into the council budget and annual plan, then it is a good idea to be aware of the annual timeline for preparation and delivery of the budget.

Annual timeline:

  • Dec-Jan: Council officers are coming up with ideas and proposals for ‘budget bids’. Chat with any you know (or could get to know), whether traffic engineers, transport planners, parks managers or environmental project staff. See whether you can interest them in your suggestions.
  • Jan-Mar: Managers, directors, CEO & Mayor are sifting and refining budget bids.
  • Mar-Apr: Councillors are involved in negotiations for the draft budget (usually called “management plan”).
  • May: Council must exhibit their draft management plan for public comment and must ‘take into account’ public submissions. They often don’t get many, so a well presented submission or comment can work very well, especially if you’ve done the background work.
  • June: Councillors decide on the final management plan (budget).