Six weeks after vowing to build 800,000 homes over the next decade, the Victoria State government reveals plans to build 60,000 new homes across 10 of Melbourne’s busiest suburbs.

To alleviate a future housing crisis, the 10 key ‘activity centres’, which the Victorian Planning Authority’s (VPA) has earmarked for greater housing density, include Broadmeadows, Camberwell Junction, Chadstone, Epping, Frankston, Moorabbin, Niddrie (Keilor Road), North Essendon, Preston (High Street) and Ringwood.

The 10 activity centres selected, reflect the new Department of Transport and Planning population projections, which suggest that 50%-plus of Melbourne’s growth over the next 15 years will happen on the urban fringe.

Expressions of interest

Tender documents, which call for expressions of interest (EoI) from consultants in transport infrastructure, environmental and land-use planning, urban design, architecture and engineering, plus community relations and engagement, encourage all interested parties to first and foremost “consider scalability.”

The VPA has also called for AI modelling that incorporates the optimal built form of each activity centre, including appropriate building and street wall heights, setbacks, and floor area ratios for new homes.

There are no cost estimates for the housing project, but the government is exploring renting or buying the land it will need for “open space” infrastructure at the 10 sites.

Strategically significant

Interestingly, Chadstone which boasts one of the southern hemisphere’s largest shopping centres has made the top 10 list without having a train station or access to trams.

In a note to media this morning, Victoria’s planning minister Sonya Kilkenny reminded the market that the 10 chosen suburbs are strategically significant based on their potential to deliver more homes in areas that are really well serviced by transport and services.

Mid-September, the state government highlighted the gravity of its mounting housing shortage which is expected to grow more acute as Victoria’s population heads towards an expected 10 million-plus by 2051.

Kilkenny expects to expand these (10) housing development plans to 120 locations across greater Melbourne once planning controls are in place at the end of next year.

Clear the backlog

In response to longstanding industry criticism of its convoluted planning process, the Victoria government has also vowed to turbocharge 1,400 planning permit applications that have been in the system for over six months.

It’s understood that over 550 multiunit housing applications have been languishing in ‘council’ in trays for more than 12 months.

To help make good on its commitment to getting more homes built faster across the state, the Allan government wants to take planning control of more than 100 neighbourhoods in the city.

The Department of Transport and Planning will also be hiring an additional 90 new planners to work in partnership with councils to support planners at a local level.

The Victoria government estimates that by clearing the backlog, around 4,900 new homes would be delivered to Victorians “who need them”.