Update on our policy and advocacy commitments to members from UDIA Acting CEO and UDIA Director of Policy and Research.
FIRST 100 DAYS OF 2021: We are committed to converting advocacy wins into reform on the ground for you.
1. Planning Systems Reform
Throughout 2019, UDIA Victoria worked closely with the Commissioner for Better Regulation to inform the recommendations for planning system reform as part of the Planning and Building Approvals System Review.
In the November State Government Budget, our policy and advocacy work proved successful, with unprecedented funding for planning system reform in response to the Commissioner’s recommendations.
The November State Budget allocated more than $110 million to deliver planning reforms that will increase the housing supply and grow more jobs.
Together the $111 million for planning, building and heritage initiatives includes:
• $14 million to the Victorian Planning Authority, including funding the Streamlining for Growth program
• $38 million to deliver a package of planning process improvements. This will provide streamlined decision-making timelines and giving greater certainty to the private sector, so they have the confidence they need to invest, create jobs, and generate economic activity in Victoria
• $9 million to help the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal clear its backlog of planning and environment cases and to reduce hearing delays.
• Creation of a new assessment model for development proposals greater than $50 million
• $3.86 million to streamline the approval pathway for affordable and social housing, making it easier for private builders to include social and affordable housing in their developments
• $15.7 million to deliver ongoing upgrades to online services to maintain and improve digital systems for permit and planning scheme amendments – and reduce the bureaucratic burden
• More than $3.2 million for DELWP to continue the implementation of Plan Melbourne including delivering key remaining actions and monitoring implementation
• More than $2 million towards a trial of an innovative new 3D spatial data program called Digital Twin Victoria. This will be a pilot of an advanced digital platform with the potential to transform Victoria’s management of its built and natural environments using 3D models and spatial data innovation
UDIA Victoria has now established an Expert Panel to work directly with DELWP as they implement the planning reform initiatives, including legislative and administrative reform. This is a means for us to provide rapid, expert advice to government as they fine-tune and implement reform that will benefit you.
Information about the funded planning reform streams will be available from March 2021.
2. Infrastructure Contributions Reform
In December 2020 the State Government established an Infrastructure Contributions Advisory Committee (ICAC) to make recommendations to the Minister for Planning and Treasurer to improve the administration, efficiency and equity of the ICP system.
UDIA has invested in first-of-its-kind research to identify and compare ICP levies from 2010 to 2020 to determine how and why they have increased over time.
The UDIA Board and Policy Team will continue to work closely with the ICAC to provide insight into the operation of the ICP and GAIC models. This critical research will enable us to provide fact and evidence-based recommendations to the ICAC to inform their interim report due at the end of March.
The results of this powerful research and the practical, fact-based recommendations will be revealed in April.
3. Greenfield Electricity Connection Reform: Draft Customer Service Standards
Following sustained UDIA Victoria engagement with the Essential Services Commission (ESC), the ESC has taken several important steps to improve electricity connection standards.
The latest step is to seek industry feedback to proposed Customer Service Standards for negotiated greenfield electricity connections from each distribution business, including the effectiveness of the engagement process, and whether the standards address the issues that are important to our industry.
The UDIA Victoria Policy Team and UDIA Greenfield Development Committee have taken this opportunity to continue to advocate for a modernised framework that governs the connection of electricity to new developments.
We will share our latest submission with you next week.
4. Precinct Structure Plan Reform
The Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) is tasked with strengthening and updating the current Precinct Structure Plan (PSP) Guidelines, which are over 10 years old. In December, UDIA Victoria lodged a detailed submission to the draft PSP Guidelines, laying the foundation for a comprehensive consultation and co-creation process with the VPA to develop final Guidelines and tools.
We will continue to work closely with the VPA on this important project, which will provide a vision and framework for the growth and development of Melbourne’s outer urban areas.
5. Better Apartment Design Standards
Throughout 2019, UDIA Victoria worked in collaboration with DELWP to provide detailed feedback to the proposed planning reforms during the initial review of the Better Apartment Design Standards.
We are now expecting an announcement within weeks detailing the planning system reforms that arose through the DELWP engagement process.
We will continue to advocate for a resonableness test to be applied to any proposed reforms, and communicate any changes to this program as soon as the information goes public (expected this month).
6. Infrastructure Victoria Draft 30 Year Strategy
The Draft 30 Year Infrastructure Strategy was released in December 2020. The UDIA will provide feedback to Infrastructure Victoria (IV) with a focus on better integrating land use and infrastructure planning, so that essential infrastructure is provided at the right time to facilitate development.
We will share our submission with members once lodged on 26 February, and will deliver a special member briefing on the 30 Year Strategy with Infrastructure Victoria’s CEO Michel Masson and IV Principal Planner Kath Phelan on 23 March. Click here to register now.
7. 2021-22 Pre Budget-Submission
Funding allocation in the 2021-22 State Budget will be critical for our industry as we adjust to COVID Normal.
UDIA Victoria will bolster our Budget recommendations with data and research revealed in the latest UDIA Residential Development Index and the UDIA Hidden Cost of Housing report. This UDIA research provides fact-based evidence to support our advocacy for new housing demand stimulus and a reduction in the cost burden on projects.
We’re also working hard to ensure Budget already allocated to planning reform in 2021-22 is delivered, while examining real-time market activity and drivers to ensure our Pre-Budget Submission clearly hits the mark for members.
2021 is well and truly upon us and UDIA Victoria is wasting no time to act on your behalf.
We will provide you with regular updates about these reform programs – and you are always welcome to contact us about these or any other policy and advocacy matters.
Thank you to our Board, Committees, and members, who continue to work with us to ensure that UDIA Victoria’s voice is constructive, respected, influential and welcomed where it matters most.