Planning reform needs collaboration

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A collaborative approach between State, Federal and Local governments is essential to achieve planning reforms that actually make a difference to the housing crisis.

The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has set an example of a constructive approach, passing a planning reform resolution at its October State Council meeting last week.

The motion, put forward by the MAV board, endorsed Local Government’s Vision for Planning in Victoria, confirmed councils stand ready to facilitate the increase in housing needed in Victoria and called on the State Government to enter a formal MOU to establish a genuine partnership on planning matters.

MAV President Cr David Clark said the motion acknowledged the recommendations from Operation Sandon, Victoria’s Housing Statement, and the reforms already gazetted as part of the statement.

“Put simply, the housing crisis cannot be solved by one level of government,” Cr Clark explained.

“Just as the states have signed up to a National Housing Accord, the MAV's call for an MOU with the Victorian Government reflects the fact it is going to require all three levels of government to work together in a genuine partnership if planning reforms are going to work.”

Cr Clark said as the closest level of government to communities, councils will be crucial in the ongoing success of these reforms.

“Including local government knowledge and expertise is an opportunity to bring all communities in Victoria along for the journey with these changes,” Cr Clark said.

“The MAV has long been calling for reform to the Planning and Environment Act. It’s more than 35 years old and while it’s been tinkered with around the edges, it needs to be reimagined to meet the challenges of the 21st century and beyond.”

The motion pushes back on any notion Local Government is a barrier to increasing housing supply across the state.

“We are every bit as ambitious as the State on boosting housing supply and affordability. Our call is a straightforward one: let's reform the system together. A system with integrity, accountability, transparency and community input is a system that will command public support.”