For the past few years now social and affordable housing has been in the spot light at Glen Eira. So now we’ve finally got a ‘strategy’, but only after it was pointed out to council at VCAT that they didn’t even have a policy when they tried to enforce the social housing component for the Caulfield Village development. Further, this strategy comes only after the State Government provided Council with a grant to formulate the strategy! Other councils have had a strategy for well over a decade in some cases and without such state government benevolence! (A case of he who pays the piper…..?)

So how good is this strategy? What will it achieve? In our opinion, it follows the general pattern of all Glen Eira policies. That is:

  • Plenty of waffle
  • Plenty of empty promises
  • Plenty of shifting the onus onto state and federal government, meaning ‘let’s not do anything except wait because it is their responsibility’.

What is especially galling is the continued cave ins to developers. East Village is the perfect example. It appears that Council is ready to accept a 5% outcome on the current 3000 net new apartments. That equals a mere 150 homes out of 3000. Plus, we have no doubt that this ‘preliminary’ figure of 3000 will grow in precisely the same way that the original mooted 1100 for Caulfield Village has ballooned out to probably 2500 net new apartments! Thus 5% will eventually dwindle down to 3% unless these escape clauses are closed off in any Section 173 agreement.

Thankfully, not all councils operate as Glen Eira does. Their policies and strategies do not accept a 5% number for social and affordable housing. They go much higher. Moonee Valley for example on its VPA partnership over the Commonwealth defence site has demanded a 20% coverage for social/affordable homes. There are others too, as shown in the following screen dumps from Yarra, Kingston, and Maribyrnong. Thus if social and affordable housing is such an issue for Glen Eira as proclaimed, then why are we settling for a paltry 5%. Why can other councils go for double this percentage and voice their opposition to government plans, as in Bayside? Why is Glen Eira so compliant? So amenable to developers? And so indifferent to the plight of its residents when it comes to anything to do with planning?

Admittedly all of the above are ‘policies’ and hence do not have great statutory weight. They do however outshine anything that Glen Eira produces. If this council is serious about addressing the issue of the lack of social and affordable housing then going for a 5% imposition is only scratching the surface. Gillon and his mates (the VPA) are continuing to laugh all the way to the bank!