|In this e-newsletter|
|– General market insights |
– Advocacy win: Changes to PSP funding
– 10-Year plan for social and affordable housing
– National Alert: EPBC Act Review
– Homes VIC Purchase Program update
– Planning for Melbourne’s green wedges and agricultural land
– UDIA Victoria submissions
– New legislation
– Government announcements
Set the Scene: Market Insights.
- Pent-up homebuyer demand is materialising, with the latest ABS figures highlighting record levels of new home loan commitments across Victoria. Owner occupier home loan commitments were up 20.1% in December, after a 19.6% rise in November.
- However, new data from the Australian Banking Association shows that Victoria has the highest percentage of mortgage deferrals still outstanding, which makes our state more vulnerable to the impact of the mortgage freeze ending in March, along with the conclusion of JobKeeper.
- Of particular concern to our apartment and urban renewal members, residential vacancy rates in the Melbourne CBD remain high, and unit market rents are down 33% over the past 12 months. This frames a critical issue that UDIA Victoria, supported by our Urban Renewal and Built Form Committee, is focused on addressing through our 2021 advocacy agenda.
- The Victorian Government is now refocusing on many of the policy issues put on pause in 2020 during the peak of the pandemic, with several stakeholder consultation periods currently underway.
- In the first 100 days of 2021, UDIA Victoria is committed to converting advocacy wins into reform on the ground. Learn about our immediate policy priorities.
Advocacy Win – New Bill Proposes More Equitable Approach to PSP Funding.
Last week a Bill introducing amendments to the Planning and Environment Act adopted several recommendations put forward by UDIA Victoria in our submission on ICPs for Greenfield Development settings, which will ensure a more transparent, efficient and equitable approach to PSP planning.
This means that instead of one or more developers potentially funding a PSP through a VPA PSP Funding Agreement – all developers within that PSP area will make equitable contributions through the ICP. The option of voluntary upfront funding will still exist, but this mechanism ensures that any parties not willing to contribute upfront will contribute later via the ICP. The fundee of the PSP, whether that be a developer or the VPA, would be able to recoup funds at the development stage.
This will streamline the time taken to commence PSPs and speed up land production for greenfield developers. It will also create equity between landowners and developers with respect to PSP funding which can be several million dollars per PSP.
10-Year Social and Affordable Housing Strategy for Victoria.
This week, the Victorian Government released a discussion paper relating to a 10-year strategy for social and affordable housing.
UDIA Victoria is working as a key member of the Affordable Housing Industry Advisory Group to submit industry’s response, including how to turn the vision into reality, challenges of the current system, and practical actions to advance the four focus areas: pathways, communities, partnerships, and growth.
UDIA National Alert: EPBC Act Review.
The Commonwealth Government has released the final report of the Independent Review into the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.
The Government is currently considering the precise legislative and regulatory framework to govern the EPBC Act.
Headline recommendations of the final EPBC report include:
- Creation of new National Environmental Standards with a focus on outcomes for Matters of National Significance;
- Development of a new and independent Environment Assurance Commission to report on the performance of the Commonwealth, States and Territories and other accredited parties in implementing the Standards;
- Implementation of a national supply chain of information and data to ensure the system is grounded in better data and science, and more accessible to those who need it;
- Accreditation of state and territory arrangements to deliver single-touch environmental approvals;
- Rationalisation of assessment pathways to enable a risk-based approach to assessments proportionate to their level of impact; and
- Reforms to offsetting arrangements that both help address decline and achieve restoration, as well as encourage more private sector investment in restoration.
The report recommends the reforms be broken into three tranches – which can respectively be delivered immediately, within 12 months and within 24 months.
Homes Victoria Purchase Program – Advocating for Minimal Delays.
In late 2020, Homes Victoria launched a Purchase Program for in-progress and ready-to-build developments, seeking to purchase dwellings to be delivered as new social housing dwellings as part of Victoria’s Big Housing Build.
UDIA Victoria has been in contact with Homes Victoria to advocate that delays be avoided to protect developers and builders from negative commercial impacts, and to ensure we can appropriately secure the stimulus opportunity presented by the Big Housing Build.
Homes Victoria has advised their team is working through the submissions lodged in December 2020 and are at the stage of issuing requests for information. We continue to seek progress updates for industry.
Planning for Melbourne’s Green Wedges and Agricultural Land: Feedback Needed.
The Victorian Government is seeking feedback on stronger planning controls to permanently protect Melbourne’s green wedges and agricultural land. The proposed planning changes are aimed at protecting green wedges from overdevelopment while keeping farms on our urban fringes working.
The Government is also proposing to permanently protect peri-urban agricultural land that lies beyond Melbourne’s green wedge zones but still within 100 kilometres of the CBD.
UDIA Victoria acknowledges the importance of supporting the successful continuation of agricultural uses and operations, and the need to limit the fragmentation of productive agricultural land surrounding Melbourne. However, we are concerned that the proposed planning changes could unreasonably curtail growth and investment in Victoria.
We seek your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Proposed customer service standards for electricity distribution businesses: Submission to the Essential Services Commission as part of its ongoing review of the timeliness of new electricity connections.
- Draft Surf Coast Statement of Planning Policy: Submission to the Distinctive Areas and Landscape (DAL) Program Standing Advisory Committee reinforcing our concerns that the DAL program has very real potential to undermine the integrity of Victoria’s planning system.
New Laws Addressing Unlawful Demolition of Heritage Buildings.
Last week the Victorian Government introduced new laws into the Parliament to provide greater protection for heritage listed places. The changes to the Act will allow Government to regulate the development of land where a heritage building has been unlawfully demolished, and will allow the Government to prohibit development on these sites for up to 10 years if the owners are charged with unlawful demolition.
Lendlease chief executive Steve McCann will retire in May after 12 years as CEO and 16 years with the organisation.
Tony Lombardo, Lendlease CEO of Asia, has been appointed to the role.