The Bill is intended in part to introduce a framework into the planning system to allow for the provision of affordable housing via voluntary arrangements with the private sector.

The key changes implemented via the Bill include:

  • The introduction of a new objective into the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (the Act) seeking ‘to facilitate the provision of affordable housing in Victoria.

  • The inclusion within the Act of a definition of affordable housing defined as ‘housing, including social housing, that is appropriate for the housing needs of any of the following
    - Very low income households.
    - Low income households.
    - Moderate income households.

  • A new section in the Act that enables the Governor in Council to make an order published in the Government Gazette which may specify the above income ranges based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

  • A new section in the Act that requires consideration to be given to a Notice in the Government Gazette when considering what constitutes ‘appropriate for the housing needs.’

  • A new section in the Act to outline that a Responsible Authority may enter into a Section 173 agreement for the provision of affordable housing.

Currently there is no formal process for the provision of affordable housing within the planning framework.

 

The changes are intended to provide the legislative foundation to facilitate the provision of affordable housing via the private sector and to provide certainty in relation to how affordable housing can be provided.

Whilst the intent of the legislation is to provide more affordable housing, there are still a few outstanding questions in relation to whether the intent of the legislation will be realised.

The changes to the Act do not mandate the need to publish in the Government Gazette the range of incomes that would constitute very low, low and moderate income households. These income thresholds will also vary each year.

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Source: ratio Consulting