To implement the amendments, the Department has worked with councils, the residential development industry and the affordable housing sector to develop two instruments and support materials.
Together with the affordable housing amendments, the instruments and support materials create the framework for Responsible authorities and landowners to negotiate voluntary affordable housing agreements.
The framework provides greater clarity and certainty on how voluntary affordable housing agreements will be structured and applied and assist councils in their role as planning authorities.
The instruments are:
- An Order by Governor in Council which specifies the income ranges for very low, low and moderate-income households for affordable housing that is not social housing.
- A Ministerial Notice published in the Government Gazette which specifies the matters that must be considered in determining whether housing provided under an Affordable Housing Agreement is appropriate for the needs of very low, low and moderate-income households.
The support materials includes:
- An example Affordable Housing Agreement using section 173 of the Act.
- Guidance for seeking and negotiating affordable housing agreements under the Act.
Frequently Asked Questions
For the purposes of the Planning and Environment Act 1987, households are defined as being very low income households if their income is 50 percent or less of the median household income of Greater Melbourne or the Rest of Victoria, depending on where they live.
Households whose income is between 50 to 80 percent of the median household income of Greater Melbourne or the Rest of Victoria are defined as low income households.
Households whose income is between 80 and 120 percent of Greater Melbourne or the Rest of Victoria are defined as moderate income households.
Preparing and negotiating an Affordable Housing Agreement will require input from a range of experts including strategic and statutory planning staff, an affordable housing subject-matter-expert, and legal services.
While it is statutory and strategic planning staff who will be managing any development, permit variation, permit application or rezoning process there may be other staff within Council who are best placed to negotiate an Affordable Housing Agreement – social planners will bring a sound understanding of the requirements of managing affordable housing, while property officers may have experience in negotiating development or property deals.
As with other matters in planning, a Council may decide to build the skills of one or two staff members who can specialise in affordable housing (in addition to their existing role) or they may contract in specific expertise. In some cases, councils may have a relationship with a registered housing agency who can provide advice and support in negotiating an agreement.