The Victorian Government has amended the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to define affordable housing. This is to encourage an increase in affordable housing through local councils seeking a voluntary affordable housing contribution, as part of planning approval processes.
The City of Greater Shepparton has taken action to lay the foundations for a Draft Greater Shepparton Affordable Housing Policy. This policy will look at how issues around social housing, affordability and homelessness can be addressed at a local level.
A responsible authority (such as the local council) and or land owner may voluntarily agree to the provision of social housing as part of Section 173 under the Planning and Environment Act 1987.
The responsible authority is the body or person responsible for administering the planning scheme, including granting permits. In most cases the council is the responsible authority.
What is affordable housing?
The Planning and Environment Act 1987 defines affordable housing as ‘housing, including social housing, that is appropriate for the housing needs of very low, low and moderate income households‘.
What is social housing?
Social housing is housing that is provided to eligible households, with rents subsidised to ensure that households pay an affordable rent.
Social housing is housing that is owned by the Director of Housing (public housing) as well as housing that is owned or managed by registered housing agencies (community housing).
Planning in Shepparton
Planning staff from the City of Greater Shepparton showed the current growth corridors for Shepparton and bounds, and the outline for 30 years of residential development. Improvements to roads, the Shepparton Bypass, the Freightlink at Toolamba East and the improvements Vline are making for the passenger train service are all parameters of this growth, along with planning and changes to the CBD at Shepparton. Development at Mooroopna West and Vicroads improvements to the Midland Highway are also inclusive of Shepparton’s growth, as is the release land when the airport is moved to a more suitable location.
The current population of Shepparton (2018) of 51,768 is expected to rise to 74,513 by 2050. Of this population, 24.8% are 60 years or older; in 2050, this will rise to 28.75, nearly ⅓ of the population. It was noted by planning staff that retirees in Shepparton are downsizing to 3 bedroom dwellings with no garden.
In addressing eligibility for affordable housing the workshop heard that there are three categories of income eligibility: very low, low and moderate income levels. In 2018, these equate to an annual income of $18,920 for very low, $30280 for low incomes and $45,420 for moderate incomes. A practical example would be a person on very low income of $108 per week, and a couple on very low income would be $163 per week. The median line for a need to access affordable housing is set at 30% of income going to rental; more than 30% is rental stress. A catch 22 situation exists wherein persons paying more than $400 per week for rent – this could easily be a mortgage payment. …
Melbourne’s population is projected to grow from 4.5 million to almost 8 million-with Victoria’s total population set to top 10 million by 2051
Cities are defined by people. They are defined by the ways in which we live and work, move from place to place, and interact with each other. That is why – as we change – our cities need to adapt.
Plan Melbourne includes affordable housing and social housing:
The following is an excerpt from Outcome 2 of the Plan Melbourne summary:
⊛ Increase the supply of social and affordable housing
- Utilise government land to deliver additional social housing
- Streamline decision-making processes for social housing proposals
- Strengthen the role of planning in facilitating and delivering the supply of social and affordable housing
- Create ways to capture and share value uplift from rezonings
- Facilitate decision-making processes for housing in the right locations
- Support streamlined approval processes in defined locations
- Facilitate the remediation of contaminated land, particularly on sites in developed areas of Melbourne with potential for residential development
- Provide greater choice and diversity of housing
- Facilitate housing that offers choice and meets changing household needs
- Provide a range of housing types in growth areas
In this wise, the City of Greater Shepparton could consider release of development blocks to include affordable and social housing. A policy position would be obtained, and agreement with developers to include these positions could be reached, using the principles outlined above in Plan Melbourne.
Celia Adams, CEO of Beyond Housing gave the Housing Agency experience of demand and supply constraints.
At present, Shepparton has 2238 persons experiencing rental and housing stress. (June 2019) (highest percentage in the Hume region)
⊛ Women over 55
⊛ 40% of people presenting are single;
⊛ 70% are single parents with a further 460 single persons. Of these, 16% have no income.
⊛ 66% are families; (800 people are homeless with their families)
⊛ 463 are from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Community (ATSIC).
⊛ 22% cite Family Violence
⊛ 34% suffer mental health afflictions
⊛ 9-10% are rough sleeping, sleeping in garages
Beyond Housing has 59 transitional properties for 2238 persons seeking housing assistance. Rural Housing is a similar situation. Of these 2238 persons, 1988 are Australian born. Some are people on drugs or recovering, some are victims of family violence, others are victims of housing stress/rental stress.
It was reported that Rural Housing has a number of dwellings that are in need of significant renovation and repair. Rural Housing also report a significant wait-list.
In discussion, a question was raised about utilisation of former school sites for affordable and social housing, citing the recent past where the State Government closed schools. Subsequently, land was sold for housing development. The Greater Shepparton College will require use of these campuses until construction at Shepparton High School is complete.
Draft Vision Shepparton – Mooroopna 2050
Through the initial stakeholder consultation a draft vision was prepared to capture ideas for what Shepparton and Mooroopna will be like by 2050.
Draft outcomes and principles to support the vision and deliver the Growth Plan have been identified. Feedback on the draft vision, actions and principles, is welcome.
5.1 Draft Vision
Shepparton and Mooroopna will be a thriving Regional City with a diverse and sustainable economy supported by essential infrastructure.
New residents and investors will be drawn to the area due to the affordable and liveable lifestyle.
The natural and cultural significance of the area will be protected and enhanced.
The engaging, transparent and financially responsible leadership will be committed to deliver positive and sustainable outcomes.
Residents and those seeking to advance social housing and affordable housing are invited to download the Shepparton – Mooroopna 2050 plan and give feedback. Here is the Download link for this plan.
It is envisaged that the City of Greater Shepparton will shortly make a Draft Affordable Housing Policy available for perusal and comment. This page will be updated when this draft strategy becomes available.
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