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.

Social and Affordable Housing Contribution

The government has announced that the legislation that would have introduced the Social and Affordable Housing Contribution is not proceeding.

Access the media release

Resources for implementing affordable housing

A Section 173 Agreement can be entered into for a range of outcomes, including affordable housing.

An example Section 173 Agreement has been developed to assist in the facilitation of negotiations for affordable housing provision. It is not mandatory to use any part of the example agreement.

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. A copy of the Notice can be found here:

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.

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 reflect the annual income ranges derived from ABS data on Population and Housing indexed to the Consumer Price Index.

Table 1 – Greater Capital City Statistical Area of Melbourne 
Very Low Low Moderate
Single Up to $ 26,200 $26,201 to $41,920 $41,921 to $62,860
Couple (no dependant) Up to $ 39,290 $39,291 to $62,870 $62,871 to $94,300
Family (Single / Couple with dependant children) Up to $ 55,000 $55,001 to $88,020 $88,021 to $132,030
Table 2 – Rest of Victoria 
Very Low Low Moderate
Single Up to $19,090 $19,091 to $30,550 $30,551 to $45,820
Couple (no dependant) Up to $28,640 $28,641 to $45,820 $45,821 to $68,730
Family (Single / Couple with dependant children) Up to $40,090 $40,091 to $64,150 $64,151 to $96,220

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: 24/06/22