How are voluntary affordable housing negotiations unfolding in Victoria? Researchers at the University of Melbourne are keen to find out.

30 Mar 2021

, News

Article by Melanie O’Neil, Dr Katrina Raynor and Dr Georgia Warren-Myers

Two and a half years ago the Victorian Government made a series of changes to the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to support the negotiation of affordable housing. A lot has changed in the intervening years. Local governments have employed dedicated officers to develop and implement affordable housing policies. Developers have utilised in-house expertise to determine how affordable housing can be factored into development plans. Community Housing providers have been in high demand and shared their wealth of knowledge. And the State Government has facilitated training, funded research and initiatives and most recently announced funding through the ‘Big Housing Build’.

In 2019, we surveyed 149 people engaged or interested in affordable housing negotiations. We found that most respondents would prefer mandatory to voluntary affordable housing contributions. We heard from respondents in the development sector that transparent communication, clear direction and a united front from across the industry is key to successfully implementing affordable housing. Many in the development sector indicated successful affordable housing negotiations assisted in advancing their interests, particularly increasing the likelihood of their development being approved. However, some were concerned that local government needed a great appreciation of commercial viability of developments.

We’d like to know how things have changed since 2019. We are interested in understanding how/if affordable housing agreements are currently occurring in Victoria and what can be done to improve outcomes.

If you have been involved in a negotiation or are engaged in a role that is impacted by affordable housing negotiations, we want to hear from you.

As affordable housing scholars committed to supporting better housing outcomes, we are conducting a survey of private developers, planners, councillors, and community housing providers to assess the state’s progress with voluntary affordable housing negotiations. Our goal is to use these findings to continue to support the negotiation of agreements and the delivery of the affordable housing that Victoria so desperately needs.  Please participate in our survey here.  

Interested in learning more? Find some additional resources below

  • A summary of the 2019 survey findings
  • A panel presentation discussing the progress of voluntary negotiations in 2020 (featuring Ben Cantwell from Stockland, Steph Harper from CBRE and Melanie O’Neil from Hobsons Bay City Council)
  • An affordable housing calculator designed to communicate the economic trade-offs in affordable housing negotiations

Please contact Katrina Raynor on if you have any questions.