Friday, July 26, 2024

LG inclusion in Victorian housing plan critical to its success says MAV

The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) says today’s release of a 10-year housing plan by the Victorian Government offers a rare opportunity to put the State on the right footing for a climate resilient, socially connected and economically thriving future. 

MAV Deputy President, Macedon Ranges Councillor Jennifer Anderson said local government was fully committed to addressing the current housing crisis in an effective and timely manner.   

“The levy on short-stay rental accommodation is a good start. This type of accommodation is clearly impacting on the long-term rental market and we welcome the funds being fully dedicated to social housing,” Cr Anderson said. 

“Councils have led the way in addressing short stays, but a consistent, state-wide approach is critically important.”

“Addressing inclusionary zoning, land-banking, and support for councils who have affordable housing targets in their planning schemes will continue to be required in order to tackle the housing crisis.” 

She said MAV research had dispelled any claims council planning processes were a significant factor causing the housing crisis. 

“Councils facilitate massive amounts of development every year, with high levels of community input embedded in the process.” 

“Despite claims to the contrary, MAV research clearly shows councils are not hindering housing stock growth. Planning permits for 120,000 dwellings are approved, but construction has not commenced.

“The fact is it’s often more profitable to delay supply, so naturally that’s what some developers are doing. We need to look at how we can change the incentives at a system wide level,” Cr Anderson said.  

She said the MAV wants to work in partnership with all levels of government and communities to build a ‘better Victoria’ that provides ample and diverse housing including social and affordable housing, well serviced growth, high quality urban regeneration at pace and scale, and good access to jobs and opportunities for all residents.

“All this needs to occur within development patterns that are economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable.”

MAV Deputy President, Macedon Ranges Councillor Jennifer Anderson.

“In order to get this right the State Government partnering with the MAV, as the statutory peak body for Vicotria’s 79 councils, is critical,” said Cr Anderson.

The Government’s Housing Statement – The Decade Ahead 2024-2034 sets a bold target to build 800,000 new homes across the state over the next 10 years, delivered through an Affordability Partnership with the housing industry. 

That includes a target to build 648,000 new homes in metropolitan Melbourne and 152,000 new homes in regional and rural Victoria.

“But we won’t stop there. As part of our work to build the 2.24 million homes Victoria will need by 2051, we’ll also set a regional target to build 425,600 of those homes across our regions and rural areas,” said Premier, Daniel Andrews.

He said Victoria’s Housing Statement focuses on five key areas to tackle the root of the problem – housing supply:

  1. Good decisions, made faster: reforming Victoria’s planning system, clearing the backlog of planning permits, giving builders, buyers and renovators certainty about how long approvals will take – and a clear pathway to resolve issues quickly if those timeframes aren’t met 
  2. Cheaper housing, closer to where you work: unlocking new spaces to stop urban sprawl, building more homes closer to where people have the transport, roads, hospitals and schools they need and delivering vital, basic community infrastructure
  3. Protecting renters‘ rights: closing loopholes that drive up the cost of living for renters, giving tenants more certainty over their leases, living standards and finances, and resolving disputes faster to keep them out of VCAT
  4. More social housing: rapidly accelerating the rollout of social and affordable homes across Victoria and launching Australia’s biggest urban renewal project across Melbourne’s 44 high-rise social housing towers
  5. A long-term housing plan: delivering a long-term plan to guide how our state grows in the decades ahead, and reviewing the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to build a planning system that works with Victorians – not against them.

“We’ll streamline the planning process for significant regional housing developments worth at least $15 million and commit to delivering at least 10% affordable housing, including build-to-rent projects,” the Victorian Premier said.

“We are making it easier to build a second small home – they give families the space to grow together, provide a critical second income or give kids somewhere to stay when they visit for the weekend. Dwelling garden units won’t require a planning permit if they’re less than 60 square metres.”

The Government also pledged to release another $500 million from the Victorian Homebuyer Fund, and unlock and rezone surplus government land to deliver 9,000 homes across 45 sites in Melbourne and regional Victoria. 

The Victorian Planning Authority will continue preparing Precinct Structure Plans (PSPs) for new housing and jobs in regional Victoria – with further work across priority projects in Wonthaggi, Ballarat, Shepparton South East, Corio Norlane, Bannockburn South East, East of Aberline and Ballarat North to continue, to deliver more homes and jobs. 

“We are also investing $150 million in the Regional Worker Accommodation Fund to provide new housing options for regional communities where key workers are struggling to find affordable places to live. The package will make regional workers’ jobs more secure and make it easier for businesses to find and keep staff,” said Premier Andrews.

“As part of our $5.3 billion Big Housing Build, 25% of new social homes will be delivered in rural and regional Victoria – a $1.25 billion investment in the housing regional Victorians deserve.

“The status quo is not an option, and admiring the problem will only make it worse. Unless we take bold and decisive action now, Victorians will be paying the price for generations to come.”

“Whether you’re buying your first place, upsizing or downsizing as life changes, or renting – the work we’re doing will mean there’ll be a place you can afford, and that you can call home,” he said.

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