In an attempt to cut red tape and push housing lots into the market as quickly as possible, the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) has announced it is awarding $447,000 to Melbourne’s seven growth area councils to establish a range of measures that will speed up the processing of subdivision applications.
According to VPA Chief Executive Peter Seamer, Victoria has the most efficient and affordable greenfield market in the country, with a serviced lot costing more than $200,000 less in Melbourne than equivalent places in Sydney.
“Melbourne’s greenfields are experiencing a record take-up, with more than 22,000 housing lots selling in the four quarters to September this year," he said.
"This program will help keep the dream of home ownership alive for Victorians.”
The VPA said about three years of growth is currently planned for with councils that are currently processing 60,000 lot applications at various stages of approval in Melbourne, and their initiative is intended to help local government speed up processing "during a time of unprecedented demand will bring more land to market faster".
The State Government's ultimate goal is to provide Melbourne with an increase in overall supply which will help it maintain its housing affordability edge.
Property Council of Australia Executive Director Sally Capp said her industry group is in support of this move, as it is the first step to cut red tape to ensure land demand in key areas.
"The Property Council supports Government aiding Melbourne’s fastest growing municipalities. This will help the growth area Councils cope with the planning pressures brought on by their growing populations," she said.
Under the support and counsel of the VPA, Councils will use the funding to hire additional staff, invest in innovative programs and identify more efficient methods to process submissions for activities like engineering works.
All councils will regularly report to the VPA about their progress throughout the coming months, and the VPA will assess the program’s effectiveness in 2017.