The Victorian government is helping the State’s farmers by making it easier for them to build worker accommodation on their farms.

What is changing?

Amendment VC202 to the Victoria Planning Provisions removes the need for a planning permit for worker accommodation for up to 10 people in the Farming Zone, making it easier for farmers to attract and retain vital workers, especially in peak harvest and picking seasons.

The planning permit exemption is only available exclusively to accommodate workers engaged in agriculture and must be on at least 40 hectares of land in a Farming Zone. Meanwhile, to make sure all accommodation is up to standard, any proposal will still need to meet requirements regarding lot size, wastewater treatment, as well as having to be associated with agriculture land uses.

The benefits

Establishing an easier, streamlined planning process to provide worker accommodation in farming areas will reduce the need for regular long-distance worker travel to and from farms, reduce travel expenses, and vehicle emissions and impacts on rural and regional road infrastructure. Greater availability of on-farm accommodation may also contribute to improving broader housing supply issues in regional areas by reducing housing demand in rural towns.

The amended Farming Zone outlines the conditions that must be met to be exempt from a planning permit. Agricultural businesses and farmers should contact their local council to check if they are eligible for an exemption.

To find out more, head to New On-Farm Accommodation Plan To Boost Workforce | Premier of Victoria.

View the new provisions

Amendment VC202 was gazetted on 12 October 2021.