At Tuesday night’s council meeting, another policy that achieves practically nothing in comparison to other councils was enshrined through an unanimous vote – the social and affordable housing policy. It was decided that council would seek 5% contribution from developers for any development over 20 dwellings with only the possibility of a higher percentage for major developments. Of course, no figure was provided for what this might be.

We remind readers of council’s lamentable efforts in this area – the backdown on the Caulfield Village development where not even 5% has thus far been achieved and the even more pathetic 5% for 3000 dwellings in Virginia Estate. If the number of dwellings reach 4000 then it would be 10% for anything over 3000. Thus the potential is there for a 6.25% social/affordable housing component if the final number of dwellings is 4000. The fact that Magee lauds this as an ‘achievement’ shows how out of tune this council is in comparison with its neighbouring municipalities.

Policy after policy that is produced is big on waffle, generalisations, and priceless motherhood statements. But when it comes to actually implementing objectives that must be applied, council goes missing. The refusal to impose any policy which might affect the developer’s pocket is simply staggering.

Other councils have been active in this area for years now, with many continually updating their strategies and increasing the demands on developers. Below is a small sample of how these other municipalities view the issue. We have also included the various dates of these policies and their revisions. All are direct quotes:

Yarra (2018 & 2019) Yarra has worked with a number of site owners to provide at least 10% affordable housing. At the former GTV9 site, Richmond, affordable housing will represent at least 10% of the total number of new apartment dwellings. At the former Gasworks site, Fitzroy North a range of dwelling types will cater for a variety of housing needs including the provision of up to 20% affordable housing. Council will continue to seek additional affordable housing for our very low, low and moderate income community.


Council expects that any affordable housing should be tenure blind and integrated with market housing, meaning that subsidised and private dwellings should not be able to be readily differentiated through either their appearance, quality or amenity and should have equal access to all communal indoor and outdoor spaces.

HOBSON’S BAY (2016) – This policy statement calls for 10 per cent affordable housing within Strategic Redevelopment Sites and encourages affordable housing in activity centres and established suburbs

FRANKSTON: (2018) – A possible threshold could be that for developments with 20 dwellings or more, 5% of the total number be allocated to a social housing and 10% to be affordable housing by agreement (15% all together). This would mean that 1 dwelling in every 20 would qualify as Social Housing under this approach.

MARIBYRNONG (2018) Investigate a contribution of a minimum of 50% of the value uplift created when land is up-zoned, to be used for affordable housing ―― Require a contribution of 10% of housing units to be used for affordable housing in areas currently subject to a Development Plan Overlay

MELBOURNE: (2020) Urban renewal areas present unique opportunities to substantially increase the supply of new affordable housing. This is due to the extent of underused land available in these areas and the opportunity Council has to shape these precincts as they are regenerated. On these sites, consideration will be given to accommodating greater than 25 per cent affordable housing

CASEY(2020) – ….guide action towards increasing the supply of affordable housing and working towards achieving a minimum of 12 percent of all new dwellings built to be affordable housing.