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Homes for Victorians

As part of the Victorian Government’s housing strategy – Homes for Victorians – planning system initiatives and reforms will be introduced to help address our housing challenges.

These initiatives and reforms will help ensure housing supply can meet demand and facilitate the supply of more social housing and other affordable housing. They will be developed and implemented over the next five years with a combined commitment of more than $58 million.

Plan Melbourne

The refreshed Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 will provide a clear framework that encourages affordability and access, and ensures Melbourne grows in the right places over the coming decades. This includes focusing growth in the central city, activity centres, urban renewal areas, and the outer urban growth areas.

The urban growth boundary will be maintained to ensure that urban sprawl is contained, and sequenced development of greenfield areas will mean new communities have the infrastructure and services they need as they develop.

The review of residential zones will support Plan Melbourne by protecting neighbourhood character while facilitating appropriate development in strategic locations.

Regional growth plans

Growth in Victoria’s regions is being guided by 8 regional growth plans that provide direction for land use and development, and have been endorsed by all 48 regional councils. Planning for future regional communities will see housing, jobs, transport and community facilities developed in coordination when and where they are needed.

The Victorian Planning Authority will work closely on planning for regional growth with councils and the nine Regional Partnerships, which bring together local stakeholders, businesses and community leaders. One of the goals will be the release of new urban land in Victoria’s regional cities and to create quality urban environments in existing towns which together attract jobs and investment.

Progress under the Regional Growth Plans is well advanced in a number of key regional cities and towns, and additional funding is being provided to many regional councils through the Victorian Planning Authority’s Streamlining for Growth program. As part of this program, Precinct Structure Plans have recently been completed for new housing areas in Moe, Drouin and Warragul and work is underway in Torquay, Shepparton and Wodonga.

The Victorian Planning Authority is also supporting Bendigo Council in the development of Plan Bendigo. This plan will see the redevelopment of sites near the heart of the city, a new future suburb near Maiden Gully, and an employment precinct at Marong.

Speeding up local government planning decisions

New projects take more time if there are planning delays. The supply of housing slows down and planning is more expensive.

There are many possible causes for planning delays. They include long approval times for subdivision plans, local roads, drainage, water, energy and telecommunication services.

A Victorian Planning Authority pilot Streamlining for Growth, has supported local councils to reduce delays in approvals.

Increasing development opportunities

Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 sets out the principles and planning rules that need to be applied to ensure we make the best use of available land.

Active planning is underway to make better use of land no longer required for its previous industrial land use. These urban renewal areas include Fishermans Bend, Docklands, and Arden Macaulay. The Victorian Government is developing plans for each of these precincts in collaboration with local councils, stakeholders, and communities.

The delivery of these urban renewal areas will result in more housing for Victorians in locations that are close to jobs, transport, schools, and essential services.

Land supply in Melbourne's growth areas

To ensure ongoing land supply in Melbourne’s outer suburban growth areas, the Victorian Planning Authority is working with councils to complete land use planning for all of these areas. These plans will ensure that as these areas grow, their communities are provided with the employment, community, and transport infrastructure they need in coordination with the release of new housing lots.

Current land zoned for development will accommodate around 200,000 lots – or enough for about 10 years supply. A further 17 Precinct Structure Plans that are currently being developed will deliver an additional 100,000 lots of zoned land by December 2018.

Find out about the Victorian Planning Authority’s Precinct Structure Plans.

Increasing supply of social and affordable housing

There is a growing desire among local councils to apply affordable housing provisions as part of both rezoning land, and permit applications in major developments. Local councils and developers are increasingly proposing new and innovative ways to deliver social housing and other forms of affordable housing.

These proposals include ways to harness the substantial increase in land value that can come from rezoning and other planning controls to deliver a community benefit such as affordable housing.

An Inclusionary housing pilot uses surplus government land to deliver up to 100 new social housing homes across 6 sites.

Surplus government land is being identified and facilitated through the Government Land Planning Service, with a focus on delivering planning certainty including rezoning and development potential, and establishing partnerships with private sector developers to deliver new housing. We expect a proportion of social housing in the developments.

Find out about the Inclusionary housing pilot.

Social housing redevelopments

Homes for Victorians committed a program of investment into social housing and to reduce homelessness. The Department of Health and Human Service is redeveloping ageing public housing estates into better connected, mixed-tenure neighbourhoods where people can live in housing that is safe and meets modern standards as part of its Public housing renewal.

The planning approval process will be improved to deliver social housing, sooner. The redevelopment of public housing estates goes through a streamlined planning approval process facilitated by an advisory committee process. This approach will ensure that good design, public consultation, and consistent decision making support the timely delivery of social housing projects.

More information about Social housing renewal projects.

Affordable Housing in Planning

From 1 June 2018, the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (the Act) included an objective ‘to facilitate the provision of affordable housing in Victoria.’

Affordable housing is housing, including social housing, that is appropriate for the needs of very low-, low- and moderate-income households.

A Governor in Council Order forms part of the definition of affordable housing under the Act. The Order specifies the income ranges for very low, low and moderate-income households for affordable housing that is not social housing. A Ministerial Notice specifies matters relevant to determining whether affordable housing is appropriate. The income ranges specified in the Order can be found below.

Resources for facilitating affordable housing

Parties to a voluntary Section 173 agreement should refer to the Specified Matters under Section 3AA(2) – Ministerial Notice to determine whether the affordable housing they are negotiating is appropriate for the needs of very low, low and moderate income households. You can download a copy of the Notice.

A Responsible Authority must discharge its responsibilities fairly and reasonably. A Responsible Authority first needs to establish a strategic basis for requesting a Section 173 Agreement and can then seek to include a condition requiring a Section 173 Agreement for the provision of affordable housing on a planning permit.

The Responsible Authority should have evidence to support the condition, ensuring that it is defendable at VCAT should the applicant lodge an application for review. In most cases, a Responsible Authority is a local council, and a strategic basis could be made in a Housing Strategy that identifies the relevant housing requirements that need to be addressed within a defined location.

To ensure development feasibility and fairness, any affordable housing requirement secured through a planning permit condition for a Section 173 Agreement should be identified early and by agreement with the applicant.

A selection of planning scheme clauses that facilitate affordable housing are shown, this list is not exhaustive. A range of approaches are evident, where affordable housing contributions or section 173 agreements are mandated, these have been negotiated and agreed with landowners as part of a planning scheme amendment.

Table 1: Metropolitan Melbourne
Council planning scheme Planning scheme clause
Bayside -municipal wide

02.03-5 Housing

16.01-2L Housing affordability

Darebin – Preston Market Precinct Schedule 1 to Clause 37.08 Activity Centre Zone
Glen Eira – East Village Schedule 2 to Comprehensive Development Zone
Kingston – Former Kingswood Golf Course Schedule 8 to Clause 43.04 Development Plan Overlay
Melbourne – West Melbourne

11.03-6L-15 West Melbourne

Schedule 6 to Clause 37.01 Special Use Zone

Melbourne – Arden Precinct

02.03-1 Settlement

11.03-6L-01 Arden Precinct

Schedule 7 to Clause 37.01 Special Use Zone

Monash – PMP Printing Precinct Schedule 2 to Clause 37.02 Comprehensive Development Zone
Yarra – municipal wide

02.03-5 Housing

16.01-2L Housing Affordability

Yarra - 81-95 Burnley Street and 26-34 Doonside Street, Richmond Schedule 15 to Clause 43.04 Development Plan Overlay

Yarra Ranges - Former Lilydale Quarry

Schedule 1 to Clause 37.02 Comprehensive Development Zone

Table 2: Growth areas
Council planning scheme Planning scheme clause

Whittlesea - Epping Renewal Site

Schedule 39 to Clause 43.04 Development Plan Overlay

Schedule to Clause 45.12 Specific Controls Overlay – Incorporated Document SCO16

Hume - Craigieburn West PSP

Schedule 12 to Clause 37.07 Urban Growth Zone

Table 3: Regional Victoria
Council planning scheme Planning scheme clause

Greater Geelong - Saleyards Precinct Plan

Schedule 4 to Clause 37.02 Comprehensive Development Zone

Governor in Council Order on Income Ranges

The Governor in Council Order (the Order) is published in the Government Gazette and updated annually to specify affordable housing income ranges as defined under the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

Table 1 and 2 are derived from annual area median income from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021 Census of Population and Housing

Table 1 – Greater capital city statistical area of Melbourne
Very LowLowModerate
Single Up to $29,770 $29,771 to $47,630 $47,631 to $71,450
Couple (no dependant) Up to $44,650 $44,651 to $71,450$71,451 to $107,170
Family (Single / Couple with dependant children) Up to $62,510 $62,511 to $100,030 $100,031 to $150,030

Table 2 – Rest of Victoria
Very LowLowModerate
Single Up to $21,700 $21,701 to $34,730 $34,731 to $52,090
Couple (no dependant) Up to $32,550 $32,551 to $52,090 $52,091 to $78,140
Family (Single / Couple with dependant children) Up to $45,570 $45,571 to $72,930 $72,931 to $109,400

Parties to a voluntary Section 173 Agreement for affordable housing would refer to the Order to determine income eligibility of individuals and households targeted in negotiations.

If the affordable housing being negotiated is social housing, parties to a voluntary agreement can find further information at Housing Victoria.

Learn about social housing eligibility

Page last updated: 02/04/24