Social and Affordable Housing

The Victorian Government’s $5.3 billion Big Housing Build to construct and create 12,000 new social and affordable housing dwellings over the next four years has been welcomed by the MAV and Victorian councils.

The Big Housing Build fills a long-standing policy and funding vacuum and provides an important stimulus for Victoria’s post-COVID social and economic recovery. However, within this large-scale and rapid infrastructure build lies a range of complex planning and implementation issues.

Rates Exemptions

The suggestion that all social housing might be exempt from paying council rates is a significant concern to the local government sector. We explored the financial impacts of a rate exemption for social housing dwellings in a recently published issues paper. The paper found that a rate exemption on the more than 85,000 social housing dwellings owned and operated by the Victorian Government and community housing providers, would equate to an estimated annual cost to Victorian ratepayers of $136.8 million.

Over 10 years, more than $1.6 billion would be removed from councils’ existing rates base. That’s $1.6 billion of lost investment in local services and infrastructure for our communities.

The needs of the families and individuals accessing social housing don’t end with just a roof over their heads, it’s only part of the answer. The other part relies on councils providing local services.

Social housing tenants, like all of us in the community, need to access and receive ongoing support through Council-provided services such as maternal and child-health, libraries, and waste collections. Protecting the integrity of our rate base is paramount to all Victorian councils. As such, our advocacy will focus on this issue as financial sustainability is a priority for all our members.

MAV will continue to pursue resolution of this issue and encourage councils to consider whatever actions they deem appropriate.

Social and Affordable Housing Compact

In November 2020 the Victorian Government called for a new partnership signified by the development of a Social and Affordable Housing Compact. The Compact is a unique opportunity to establish a partnership with the state government to address long standing housing issues faced by local governments.

The scope of the intended Compact is key and needs to reflect the broad range of issues faced by councils.

As a first step towards development of a Compact, and while we await the release of the State Ten Year Social and Affordable Housing Strategy, MAV developed a draft Statement on Social and Affordable Housing for consideration by Councils. It provides councils an opportunity to adopt a shared local government position and establishes clear parameters for the ingredients we would like to see included in the Compact.

Feedback on the Statement will allow us to fully understand both the issues that councils are facing, and the actions that they are currently taking to address these.

The Statement will be open for consultation until January 21, 2022, with a view to providing the MAV Board with a draft Statement for consideration early in the new year.

For more information contact:

John Smith,
Social and Affordable Housing Advisor

Our Advocacy