Affordable Housing in Planning

The planning system has a role in facilitating affordable housing. From 1 June 2018, the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (the Act) included an objective “to facilitate the provision of affordable housing in Victoria.”

A Governor in Council Order (the 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. More information on income ranges can be found at the resources for implementing affordable housing page.

Under the Act, social housing has the same meaning as in section 4(1) of the Housing Act 1983. Income limits for social housing are determined by the Director of Housing and published at Housing Victoria.

Voluntary Affordable Housing Agreements

One mechanism to facilitate the supply of affordable housing is a voluntary agreement between a Responsible Authority (generally a local council) and a landowner to deliver affordable housing as part of new developments.

Such agreements are generally referred to as Section 173 Agreements as the power to enter into the agreement arises under Section 173 of the Planning and Environment Act.

Further information and resources for Section 173 Agreements can be found at the resources for implementing affordable housing page.

Ministerial Advisory Committee on Planning Mechanisms for Affordable Housing

In September 2019 the Minister for Planning appointed a Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) to provide independent advice on the possible models and options to facilitate the supply of affordable housing through the Victorian Planning System.

The MAC consulted widely with many key stakeholders including the development and property industries, as well as across local and state government departments and others, before delivering its advice to the Minister for Planning in December 2019. The MAC proposed a reconsideration of the current voluntary framework for affordable housing and a move towards a more consistent and uniform approach to support affordable housing development.

Recent events have necessitated that the Government focus efforts on supporting Victoria’s recovery through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In the meantime, the Minister for Planning has requested that work continue to investigate planning options that would enable a more universal and uniform approach that could be considered at an appropriate time.

Page last updated: 16/10/20