The Geographic Place Names Act 1998 requires the naming rules to be reviewed at least once every five years. This ensures any issues with using the rules are addressed and allows changes and improvements to be made to the rules. The review process includes feedback from stakeholders and reflects community interest in the rules for naming places.
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Geographic Names Victoria is currently reviewing the Naming rules for places in Victoria. This is commonly referred to as the naming rules.
The Geographic Place Names Act 1998 (Section 6) outlines that the naming rules should be updated every 5 years.
The 2020-2021 review will focus on encouraging greater gender equality and diversity when deciding on names for the future.
This means ensuring best-practice naming including more places and streets named after women, Aboriginal people, or in an Aboriginal language.
A 2020 naming rules review committee has been established to ensure proper governance of the review.
The nominated committee members include:
- members of the Geographic Place Names Advisory Panel
- representatives from emergency services and councils
It is expected that the committee will consider matters on a monthly basis.
The committee will be engaging with stakeholders from November 2020.
- emergency services
- land surveyors
- the general public
Frequently asked questions
Read or download frequently asked questions about the 2020-2021 review of the naming rules below.
You can find more general questions about the naming rules and Geographic Names Victoria under first time here.
The naming rules are required to be reviewed at least once every five years by law, as part of the Geographic Place Names Act 1998.
Naming rules contribute to public safety. Community facilities and infrastructure are officially named and registered with Geographic Names Victoria so that emergency services can accurately find them.
It is also important that Geographic Names Victoria is aware of places that are already named, but not registered. These names are considered unofficial place names but are just as important to have officially registered.
The naming rules review will:
- Meet legislative requirements of the Geographic Place Names Act 1998.
- Obtain public and stakeholder feedback about the naming rules.
- Obtain feedback about achieving gender equality in names given to new places.
- Obtain feedback on incorporating Aboriginal names into new locations, places and streets.
- Obtain stakeholder/user feedback about the practical application of the rules, the ease of the naming process, and any suggested improvements.
Geographic Names Victoria is responsible for administration of the review. Its role is to:
- aid the naming rules review Committee in approving the key areas for review
- draft the review process and scoping documents
- identify for the Committee the key stakeholder groups
- advise the Committee on the adequacy of the current principles and suggest additions, deletions or amendments
- inform the Committee about issues directly or indirectly experienced with policies or procedures provided in the naming rules, and where appropriate, propose possible solutions
- disseminate information between the Committee and stakeholder groups
- provide administrative assistance to the Committee in creating the drafts and final naming rules section on guiding principles
- liaise with Land Use Victoria and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s Digital and Communications Division on drafts and final naming rules documents, the Communications Plan, including details of the stakeholder engagement program, webpage design and the naming rules launch
- liaise with Land Use Victoria’s Office of the Chief Executive to develop Ministerial Briefs and correspondence for the Victorian Government Statutory and Governance Unit.
In addition to the general public, organisations invited to provide feedback on the naming rules include:
- Government users such as the Department of Transport; including Roads, Transport for Victoria, Public Transport Victoria
- Transport authorities such as the Level Crossing Removal Authority
- The Department of Health and Human Services
- Emergency services
- Australian Marine Search and Rescue
- Local government organisations
- Utility providers
- Surveying professionals and industry peak bodies
- Universities and training providers
- National bodies
- Traditional Owners
- Property and insurance industry representatives
- Community interest groups
Feedback will also be sought from internal stakeholders including:
- Land Use Victoria
- Land Use Victoria’s chief sponsors (Land Registration Services, Surveyor-General Victoria, Land Information and Spatial Services (Vicmap) and the Valuer General Victoria)
- Groups and business units that use or rely on spatial data and land information from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
- All other Victorian Government departments using or relying on spatial data and land information
Twelve weeks of public consultation was conducted on the naming rules. Consultation was open from Monday 21 December 2020 until Friday 19 March 2021 via the Engage Victoria website.
There are two rounds of consultation. Once the first round is complete, comments and suggested changes will be reviewed by the naming rules review Committee and Geographic Names Victoria. These comments will see changes made to the current naming rules.
A first draft of the naming rules will be created and is expected to be released for consultation in August 2021, for a period of four weeks. Comments will be reviewed before amendments to the rules are made.
Once the Committee and the Registrar of Geographic Names have finalised their review and approved the final document, Ministerial endorsement and Governor-In-Council approval will be sought.
Publication and promotion of the new naming rules document is expected in 2022.
The current review will begin in 2020 and is expected to be completed by early 2022.
The Geographic Place Names Act 1998 states that the ‘Guidelines’ in force under the act must be reviewed once every five years. The next review is scheduled for 2025 and is expected to be complete in 2026.
Naming often commemorates an event, person or place. In considering commemorative naming, the names of people who are still alive must be avoided, because community attitudes and opinions can change over time. In addition, when naming a place after a person, that person should be, or should have been, held in strong regard by the community.
In exceptional circumstances, a naming authority can apply to the Registrar of Geographic Names for an exemption, to name a place after a living person.
Geographic Names Victoria currently has no statistics on the use of women’s names in naming Victorian places and streets. Initial research indicates an uneven balance between places and streets that are named after women, compared to those named after men. Following the release of the Gender Equality Act 2020, Geographic Names Victoria is looking to address this.
No. Recommendations from the naming review will inform the naming of new streets and places. While achieving gender equality in naming for places and roads that have already been named is not part of the review, it can recommend that new places and streets are named with a more equitable balance between male and female names.
To ensure the preservation of Aboriginal place names and languages across Victoria. In Victoria we have a rich history, with 38 different Aboriginal language groups, representing culture and connection to Country. The uniqueness of language is based on location. Each language is deeply rooted to the land and offers an ideal opportunity to connect a name to a place.
Naming authorities, such as local councils, must engage with Traditional Owners when assigning Aboriginal names to roads, features and localities, it is important that a process has been defined.
About the naming rules
The naming rules include step-by-step information on naming roads, features and localities in Victoria.
The naming rules uphold the guidelines in the Geographic Place Names Act 1998 and are mandatory for naming authorities in Victoria.
The rules were developed following consultation with municipal councils, government departments, and emergency response and public service providers.
Page last updated: 16/09/22