In brief

The Victorian Government has announced ambitious draft housing targets of 2.5 million additional homes statewide by 2051. The targets have been released for community consultation and, when finalised, will form part of a new strategic plan for Victoria.
The Victorian Government has recently announced the release of its statewide draft housing targets for 2051, which will increase housing stock to over four million by the 2050s. Subject to local government consultation, these figures will form part of a new housing plan for Victoria. The draft targets seek to double the existing number of dwellings across Victoria by implementing two million dwellings in Metropolitan Melbourne and 500,000 new homes in regional areas including Geelong, Ballarat, and Bendigo.

The draft targets

 The draft housing targets were released last week in the form of interactive maps displaying the distribution of new homes across the state. These maps show that:

  • among the inner suburbs, Melbourne City Council is expected to accommodate 134,000 new homes by 2051, more than doubling the existing dwellings in that area;

  • inner city local councils such as Yarra, Stonnington, and Port Phillip will see an increase of 85-90% in existing dwellings; and

  • outer municipalities such as Melton, Wyndham, and Casey City Councils, have significant targets of 132,000, 120,000 and 104,000 respectively.

This targeted expansion purportedly responds to the statewide need for greater housing diversity with access to jobs, transport, and services in each municipality and is said to reflect current development trends, access to existing and planned public transport, and flood and bushfire risks.

Reportedly, the Government will rely on local council powers to unlock space for new homes by facilitating changes to planning rules across the state to encourage new development. However, in absence of further details as to how the Government will support the delivery of these planning outcomes, it is difficult to picture what these changes will look like and how they will be administered in such a short timeframe.

Further to this, while targets are useful for councils and developers in providing an indication of where the Government intends to facilitate new residential developments over the next three decades, the question remains as to how economically feasible these proposed figures will be in practice. In light of the current market forces at play, increasing constructions costs, stilted supply chains, and high interest rates, it remains to be seen what measures will be put in place to support development applications through the approval, construction, and occupancy stages to ensure these housing targets are met in the near future.

Public consultation

At this stage, the Government is seeking the cooperation of local councils and members of the community to inform the feasibility and practicalities of meeting such targets. Submissions will be open to the public and local councils from 1 July 2024 to 30 August 2024, which will inform the final targets to be released at the end of 2024.

This is commentary published by Colin Biggers & Paisley for general information purposes only. This should not be relied on as specific advice. You should seek your own legal and other advice for any question, or for any specific situation or proposal, before making any final decision. The content also is subject to change. A person listed may not be admitted as a lawyer in all States and Territories. © Colin Biggers & Paisley, Australia 2024.

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