Numbers Crunched! Online calculator wins PIA Award


Brimbank Council’s new user-friendly online tool that helps calculate and pay a Development Contributions payment through a simple process, has won an award at the Planning Institute of Australia’s Victorian Awards for Planning Excellence.

Brimbank Mayor Cr Lucinda Congreve said that Council was thrilled that the new tool won in the Improving Planning Processes and Practices category at the PIA awards ceremony in Melbourne on 9 November.

“Creation of Council’s new online DCP system was driven by our Community First approach.

“As the DCP is a very complex levy system, Brimbank Council was keen to develop a straightforward, streamlined system so that anyone to whom the levy applied would be able to calculate and pay their levy through a simple process.

“Council therefore translated the complex DCP statutory requirements into a user-friendly online format that includes tools such as a calculator to determine the appropriate levy, and a convenient online form that is sent to the DCP Officer to request a Development Contributions Plan Levy Invoice,” Cr Congreve said.

Provides certainty about costs

Council’s DCP calculator assists in providing some certainty about the cost of development in relation to Council fees, by providing users with an accurate estimate of the applicable levy, or helping them understand if they are exempt from payment – and all in a convenient and easy-to-understand format.

Brimbank Mayor Cr Congreve said that while the DCP planning mechanism is commonly used by councils across Australia, Brimbank provides a new simple and functional user experience for customers.

User friendly!

“Brimbank’s DCP system is extremely user-friendly, so that it can be easily understood by a variety of customers - ranging from consultants, developers and drafts people who are accustomed to planning processes, to the landowners who are experiencing the planning process for the first time.

“The benefit to users of the new Brimbank DCP online system is that they can ‘self-serve’ the appropriate information, at their own convenience without having to make direct contact with Council, and without having to interpret the complexities of the statutory requirements of the DCP levy.

“The system offers useful prompts to guide users through. After obtaining an estimate levy amount from the calculator, the user can make an online request for an invoice. This goes directly to Council’s DCP Officer, who will review the development and provide the customer with an invoice that can be conveniently paid online via BPAY or Council’s website.

“The uptake of the new online DCP system has been very encouraging. Since being implemented in January 2018, out of the 141 DCP levy invoices created, 138 requests for the levy invoice were made online.

Embracing technology

“This DCP online system is another example of how Brimbank Council is embracing digital technology to streamline day-to-day planning processes, and Council will be able to make ongoing improvements to the process.

“Council’s implementation of the DCP online system displays best practice of Local Government in achieving process improvement. Council has shared its knowledge with other councils across metropolitan Melbourne who are interested in following in Brimbank’s footsteps and developing an efficient online DCP system of their own,” Cr Congreve said.

The Brimbank DCP system will now compete in the PIA National Awards, to be announced on the Gold Coast on 15 May 2019.