Surveying and Planning through Electronic Applications and Referrals

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General FAQs


1. What is SPEAR?

Surveying and Planning through Electronic Applications and Referrals (SPEAR) is an Australian-first system, which provides a common interface for all stakeholders involved in the planning and subdivision processes to create, lodge, manage, refer, approve and track planning permit and subdivision applications online, anytime in Victoria.

It is offered free of charge by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).

2. Who can use SPEAR?

SPEAR is available to applicants, Responsible Authorities (councils), referral authorities, loodging parties, Land Use Victoria (LUV) and the public.

  • Applicants: Create, submit and manage applications including the planning permit to subdivide, subdivision certification and Statement of Compliance, survey-based applications under the Transfer of Land Act, boundary plans and applications to the Office of Surveyor-General Victoria. Applicants that are not licensed surveyors can create, submit and manage planning permits to subdivide only.
  • Responsible Authorities: Receive, manage, refer and approve applications and make key decisions including issuing planning permits, certifications and Statements of Compliance.
  • Referral authorities: Receive referrals, request further information and consent to referrals.
  • Lodging parties: Lodge plan-based applications with LUV, including dealings under the Subdivision Act, Transfer of Land Act and Local Government Act. For a full list of dealings that can be lodged electronically in SPEAR, see SPEAR dealing types.
  • The public: View basic information about an application and lodge objections to applications which have been advertised in SPEAR.

3. How can I register to use SPEAR?

The SPEAR system is being used by all 79 Victorian councils. Applicants and referral authorities wishing to use SPEAR should go to the ‘Register’ section of the SPEAR website and follow the relevant instructions for the organisation type. Lodging parties wishing to use SPEAR should go to the ‘Lodging Parties’ section of the SPEAR website and select How do I get started?

No registration is required by members of the public wishing to view applications, however those wishing to lodge an online objection must register as ‘objectors’ following the prompts when viewing an advertised application via the SPEAR ‘Public Search’.

More information about the registration process, see Registration.

4. How much does it cost?

There is no charge to use the SPEAR system, however licensed surveyors and some council and lodging party users will be required to purchase digital certificates to digitally sign electronic documents and key decisions. Digital certificate pricing, can be found at DigiCert Gatekeeper Pricing

5. What type of planning permit application can be lodged through SPEAR?

Only the subdivision planning permit can be submitted in SPEAR, provided the Responsible Authority is accepting planning permit applications. A complete list of Responsible Authorities and their current application preferences can be found from our Listing of Registered Users.

6. Who will be able to view objections?

Objections made through SPEAR will be viewable by the Responsible Authority and other parties involved in an application.

7. What are the benefits of using SPEAR?

There are many benefits to SPEAR, notably, an increased transparency in the application approval process, improved access to all application documents, and a standardised approach to submissions across different councils. A more detailed list of benefits can be found here.

8. Is SPEAR mandatory?

On 11 July 2019, the Registrar of Titles determined Version 7 of the Registrar's Requirements for Paper Conveyancing Transactions which introduces the following requirements for licensed surveyors:

  • All plans and surveys first signed by a licensed surveyor on or after 1 January 2020 must be submitted in SPEAR.
  • All owners corporation information for a plan first signed by a licensed surveyor on or after 1 January 2020 must be submitted using the Excel spreadsheet available in SPEAR.

Lodging parties should note that in line with Land Use Victoria's 100% digital lodgment strategy, it will be mandatory to lodge all plans through the SPEAR system in the future. Lodging parties who are not yet electronically lodging through SPEAR are encouraged to become SPEAR subscribers. Please contact the SPEAR Service Desk for assistance.

9. Do I need a digital certificate to use SPEAR?

Licensed surveyors and some council and lodging party users will be required to purchase digital certificates to digitally sign some documents and key decisions in SPEAR.

Licensed surveyors are required to digitally sign/certify the following:

  • Plan of subdivision (or other plan type)
  • Abstract of Field Records
  • Supplementary Abstract of Field Records
  • Surveyor’s Report
  • Advice by Licensed Surveyor (Form 13

Responsible Authority (delegated users) are required to digitally sign/certify the following:

  • Planning permit decision - grant, refuse, notice of decision
  • Certification/re-certification of a plan of subdivision
  • Statement of Compliance

Lodging Party users are required to digitally sign/certify the following:

  • Land Use Victoria application form
  • Owners Corporation OC1, OC2 & OC5 documents (if applicable)

10. In what formats are SPEAR documents likely to be in?

PDF is the primary file type accepted in the system for all application documents. Some actions in SPEAR may allow the user to enter free text on screen (this information will be converted to PDF and made available from the Details screen for others to view). SPEAR also accepts spreadsheets in Excel (xlsx) format for certain document types such as new street addressing

Applicant Contacts have the option to support their applications with the following:

11. Can I integrate my current system with SPEAR?

SPEAR offers an A2A option (Application to Application) which allows web services to interact directly with an organisation’s core system. If utilised, a user’s system can retrieve and populate data from SPEAR applications and, in some cases provide referral responses to applications. There is no cost to access the SPEAR Web Services, however, the development and maintenance of systems to integrate with SPEAR is at the cost of the organisation, not SPEAR. More information about SPEAR A2A can be found here.

12. Does SPEAR or the Responsible Authority store data and application documents?

SPEAR is a repository for application data. However, ownership and responsibility for the application rests with the organisations and relevant stakeholders providing the information. All parties are required to maintain their own application records.

13. Who will be able to view applications once they have been submitted to the Responsible Authority?

All parties to a SPEAR application, including the Applicant Contact, Responsible Authority, referral authorities, and the lodging party will be able to view the entire application.

The public can view basic information about the application at any time, including the submission date, property address, Responsible Authority name, application type, SPEAR reference number and application status.

Additional documents may be made available by the Responsible Authority during the advertised period. This information can be accessed by the public search.

The Applicant Contact can also invite a third party (such as a client) as a guest to view one or more SPEAR applications. More information about guest access can be found here.

14. Can application fees be paid online?

Yes. SPEAR provides a secure payment gateway which allows Applicant Contacts (and their guests) to make payments directly to Responsible Authorities Multiple payments per application can be received including statutory fees, advertising fees, inspection fees and other fees (e.g. public open space contributions). List of Responsible Authorities which accept online payments can be found here.

15. Can a copy of title be purchased from within SPEAR?

No. The copy of title needs to be purchased via current means (i.e. relevant broker) then saved locally, before being uploaded into SPEAR to support a new application.

16. Where can I get further information?

For further information about the SPEAR System, please visit the SPEAR website at or contact the SPEAR Service Desk on (03) 9194 0612 or email fcrne.vasb@qryjc.ivp.tbi.nh