Homes for Victorians: Affordability, access and choice

As part of the Victorian Government’s housing strategy – Homes for Victorians: Affordability, access and choice – 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.

In addition, the refresh of Plan Melbourne and the review of residential zone changes will ensure there is greater housing choice in locations close to jobs and services.

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.

Find out more about Plan Melbourne.

Regional Growth Plans

Growth in Victoria’s regions is being guided by eight 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.

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.

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 more about the Victorian Planning Authority’s Precinct Structure Plans

Inclusionary Housing Pilot program

An Inclusionary Housing pilot program will be developed and piloted on surplus government land. The pilot program will deliver up to 100 new social housing homes located in areas with easy access to jobs and transport.

Surplus government land is being identified and facilitated through the Fast Track Government Land Service, with a focus on delivering planning certainty including rezoning and development potential, and establishing partnerships with private sector developers to deliver new housing. The Victorian Government will be discounting the price of this land in turn for a proportion of social housing in developments.

The first sites are expected to be put to market by the end of 2017 with a view to construction commencing before the end of 2018. A further pipeline of projects will be identified by Land Use Victoria, Development Victoria and VicTrack.

Inclusionary housing in major developments

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.

A clear framework will be developed to give developers, the community, and councils certainty around how a voluntary benefits scheme could be applied. This will include:

  • a legal definition of social and affordable housing to be put into legislation
  • amendment of the Victoria Planning Provisions and State Planning Provision Framework to provide clear direction
  • development of a new voluntary tool to enable affordable housing agreements
  • development of a new value capture tool to set out how these arrangements can be structured.

This will make it easier for local governments, the community housing sector and residential developers to enter into agreements to deliver social and affordable housing as part of large residential developments.

Fast tracking social housing redevelopments

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

Underutilised government land

Surplus government land will be being identified and facilitated through the Fast Track Government Land Service, which streamlines planning provisions for government land.

Under this process, the independent Government Land Standing Advisory Committee examines proposals that are referred to it by the Minister for Planning, and calls for public and local council submissions on the future potential of each site. The committee then provides recommendations to the Minister, including advice on future zoning, consistent with Plan Melbourne’s objectives.

To date, this fast track process has been successful in freeing up land supply and cutting months off the traditional planning scheme amendment process. Under this process, a future pipeline of potential sites for the Inclusionary Housing pilot will be generated, ensuring Victorians are getting the most from publicly owned land assets.

Find out more about the Fast Track Government Land Service.

Local councils will be supported in reducing planning approval delays through the Victorian Planning Authority’s Streamlining for Growth program. The program, which commenced as a pilot in 2016, has already made significant progress with projects being funded to streamline subdivision processes, unlock strategic development sites, and speed-up applications in Melbourne and regional growth areas.

The Streamlining for Growth program has been extended for another four years to help accelerate the planning and approvals process and unlock new land for residential development. The program will also work to speed up the rezoning of strategic sites within existing suburbs to free up housing land in areas people most want to live and which have remained undeveloped for too long.

Find out more about the Victorian Planning Authority’s Streamlining for Growth program.

The Smart Planning program will reform Victoria’s planning system to make it faster and simpler. Through the program, an online ‘one-stop planning shop’ will be created with thousands of planning scheme maps converted to digital form to make them more accessible.

The program will also reduce waiting times for planning scheme amendments through the introduction of an online amendments system and a more efficient amendment process, and through an extension of the 10-day turnaround VicSmart program, 30 per cent of permits will be fast tracked.

The simple VicSmart process makes straight forward planning applications easier to navigate for applicants unfamiliar with the planning system. Council and state planning staff are also able to focus on permits needing greater analysis, further reducing overall processing times, and cutting red tape.

Find out more about the Smart Planning program and VicSmart.

For more information about Homes for Victorians visit: www.vic.gov.au/affordablehousing