The Victorian Government has announced as part of the Victorian budget for 2020/21, the Big Housing Build, the largest ever investment in public and community housing in Victoria.

The Big Housing Build will involve a $5.3b investment in social housing, creating:

  • 9,300 new social housing dwellings; and
  • 2,900 new affordable and market homes for first home buyers and renters.

As a result of the Big Housing Build, over the next four years:

  • Victoria’s social housing supply will increase by 10%; and
  • approximately 10,000 new jobs will be created each year.

To facilitate the efficient implementation of the Big Housing Build, the Victorian government has announced the creation of a new government agency, Homes Victoria, to manage the project, and will be streamlining planning approvals for social and affordable housing. Homes Victoria will work closely with industry, the not-for-profit sector and the community to:

  • support Victorians to find secure and affordable housing;
  • manage the more than $26 billion in housing assets that currently house more than 116,000 Victorians;
  • ensure the Big Housing Build is delivered in a timely way and on budget; and
  • make sure we have a sustainable housing system that can deliver for the long-term future of Victoria.

Some of the more particular reforms and programs of the Big Housing Build include:

  • New homes on public land: $532 million allocated to replacing obsolete properties and constructing new homes to deliver 500 new social housing properties and 540 new affordable and market homes.
  • Social Housing Growth Fund: $1.38 billion allocated to support Community Housing providers to deliver up to 4,200 new dwellings. Rapid Grants will be launched in 2020, which will target projects capable of construction commencing before 31 December 2021.
  • Streamlined Planning Reform: Projects funded by the Big Housing Build will have reduced planning approval times (down from 18 months to 3 months) and will no longer require planning permits or scheme amendments (except for industrial or rural land). Community Housing Provider projects on residential land will also have reduced planning approval times (down from 12 months to 3 months) if the projects are ‘by or on behalf of’ the Director of DHHS.
  • Gender equity plan: Homes Victoria has implemented a gender equity plan to increase the participation of women in the construction industry workforce.
  • Existing projects and spot purchases: $948 million allocated to working with the private sector to bring forward existing large developments to deliver 1,600 new social housing properties and 200 new affordable homes. As part of this spot purchase program (known as the Purchase Program – In Progress and Ready to Build Developments), the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is currently seeking to purchase dwellings that can be delivered as turnkey properties for new social housing dwellings from any sized developer, including registered builders, developers and product marketers. The DHHS is accepting ‘Requests for Proposals’ in relation to these spot purchases of dwellings or developments up until 2.00pm (AEDT) on 17 December 2020.
  • Rural investment: 25%, or approximately $1.25b, of the total amount invested will be allocated to rural and regional Victoria (including Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat).

These particular reforms present not just timely and necessary assistance to those in need of social and community housing, but great opportunities to:

  • builders, developers and property owners to be involved in the Purchase Program – In Progress and Ready to Build Developments program; and
  • community housing providers to partner with the Victorian government in a range of funding rounds – starting this year and continuing through 2021 – for housing projects led by community housing providers.

If you have any questions, or would like to know more about the particular reforms and programs that comprise the Big Housing Build, and how they may be relevant to your business, please phone, or email the key contacts below.

Jane Hodder

Jane Hodder
Partner, Real Estate, Melbourne
+61 3 9288 1692

David Sinn

David Sinn
Partner, Real Estate, Melbourne
+61 3 9288 1509

Lucy McCullagh

Lucy McCullagh
Partner, Core Finance, Melbourne
+61 3 9288 1318

Nicholas Carney

Nicholas Carney
Partner, Projects, Sydney
+61 2 9322 4727