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Published on 09 June 2023
Hepburn Shire Council has released its draft Affordable Housing Strategy and Action Plan which aims to help address the many challenges of meeting housing needs in the Shire.
Development of the draft strategy and action plan was informed by community input over the last eight months via surveys, submissions, webinars, community pop-up sessions and a solutions forum.
“While most factors that drive housing affordability are outside the direct control of local government, we have identified 25 actions that may help to create the right conditions for more affordable housing in the Shire,” said Mayor Brian Hood.
“We’re inviting the community to review the draft strategy and action plan, tell us what they like and what else we should consider,” said Cr Hood.
Each action falls within one of four themes:
Community and partnerships
Land use planning and regulation
Incentives and investment.
The actions related to community and partnerships include establishing a Housing Working Group to guide implementation of the strategy and action plan, encouraging property owners to provide long-term affordable rental accommodation, investigating co-operatives to build and manage housing, and looking into options for affordable retirement living options or public private partnerships.
Cr Hood said advocating to state and federal governments will be key for improving housing affordability in the Shire.
“We will be advocating for more social housing and emergency accommodation, encouraging regulatory changes to promote long-term rentals over short-term accommodation, and also campaigning for updates to the Victorian planning scheme to include mandatory affordable housing contributions,” said Cr Hood.
Key actions relating to land use planning and regulation include updating planning processes to reduce timeframes and improve customer experience, investigating amendments to the planning scheme to facilitate secondary dwellings and relocatable dwellings, and encouraging housing diversity including smaller, less costly dwellings.
“In terms of incentives and investment Council will be investigating which sites would be suitable for alternative forms of housing such as moveable dwellings, communal housing and tiny houses. We’ll also investigate financial incentives to encourage increased provision of affordable housing, such as reduced rates for affordable housing providers and/or privately owned long-term affordable rental properties, within the constraints of Council’s financial resources,” said Cr Hood.
“A lack of affordable housing is affecting people on lower incomes but also people in key jobs that we need to support our services and local businesses like hospitality, tourism, farm workers, nurses and other carers,” said Cr Hood.
“I encourage the community to review our draft strategy and action plan and let us know what they think,” he said.
Complete a survey at https://participate.hepburn.vic.gov.au/affordable-housing by midnight on Sunday 9 July 2023.