The Greens plan to transform our urban planning system to respond to the threat of climate change and put planning back in the hands of the people

Victoria's planning system does not recognise the threat of climate change nor respond to the threat it poses to people and communities.

Instead, State Governments have given property developers free rein over our city and communities for too long. The result is urban development that does not respond to the challenge of climate change and instead puts communities at risk. Communities and councils are being cut out from decision-making, too many heritage places, green spaces and trees are being destroyed, and our green wedges and food bowl are under threat from encroaching development.

The Greens will transform our planning system so that it puts climate and people first. 


Heatwaves, floods and bushfires

As we feel the effects of climate change, our cities and suburbs are heating up and are more vulnerable to major climate events such as floods and bushfires. But our planning system has not caught up to the climate crisis. Too many major projects and new urban development are unsustainable, lack open and green space, and make the climate crisis worse. 

The city centre can be as much as 10 degrees hotter than the surrounding countryside.

The Greens' plan to promote sustainable urban development includes:

  • Mandatory climate trigger assessments for all new major projects, planning scheme amendments and planning permits, including urban heat island effect mitigation statements 
  • Measures to reduce the loss of canopy cover on private land, including a mandatory developer tree planting contribution and a price on tree loss
  • New minimum green space and tree cover requirements for urban development
  • Minimum eight star NatHERS for all new housing developments, moving to 10 stars by 2030
  • Mandatory green roofs and solar for apartment buildings of 5 storeys and above
  • Restore the requirement for minimum garden areas at ground level
  • Mandatory light coloured roofs and minimum building separation standards


End the special treatment for property developers

There is currently no requirement for developers to allocate any part of a new development for affordable housing. Instead the Labor Government has given big property developers tax breaks and special deals, allowing them to make huge profits instead of creating more affordable homes. 

Just like we invest in health and education, we can invest in the housing system to make housing affordable.

The Greens' plan includes:

  • A big build of 200,000 new accessible and sustainable public and affordable homes over the next 20 years, creating 10,000 quality jobs. 
  • Making property developers allocate affordable homes to first home owners and public housing.
  • Introducing a public and affordable housing levy, so developers have to contribute their fair share to affordable housing.


Victoria’s planning system has too much discretion

Developers twist the rules to maximise their yields and profits often at the expense of affordable and sustainable housing outcomes. The lack of certainty created by our planning system means that we are not able to create liveable neighbourhoods with affordable and sustainable housing. 

Successive reviews of Victoria’s planning system have found that the system is overly complex, unclear and difficult to administer.

The Greens' plan includes:

  • Mandatory height controls or maximum density ratios.
  • Mandatory sustainability standards.
  • New minimum apartment sizes and a Medium / High Density Design Code.
  • A permanent, legislated urban growth boundary and + green wedge protection, to ensure it can only be changed by parliament.
  • Reviewing the VicSmart assessment process.
  • New biannual reporting by planning authorities on the use of discretionary planning controls.


Residents deserve a say in urban planning

Our planning system has slowly had its democracy stripped away from it. Developers have been gaming the system, relying on VCAT and fast-track schemes to avoid due scrutiny and get their way regardless of council or community opposition. And planning power has steadily been centralised and is soon going to be centralised further.

Our communities and their local elected representatives on council are best placed to make decisions about the shape of their neighbourhoods. 

The Greens' plan includes:

  • Reverting VCAT to an administrative appeals body to stop developers shopping for planning approvals. 
  • Re-introducing third party appeal rights where they have been stripped away, and amending the planning law to allow for third party objector rights in all planning scheme amendments and development overlays (DDO) and Development Plans.
  • Legislating for all ministerial call-ins to have a process of exhibition and consultation before decision.
  • Review the government’s fast-track schemes to check they are operating in the best interests of the community.
  • Reinstating the scrapped Parliamentary Inquiry into the Planning Framework and ensuring full community and expert hearings are held.




Victoria’s heritage is precious

Our cities, towns and landscapes reflect our diverse history, from thousands of years of First Nations settlement to post-war and modern Victoria.

But our weak heritage laws are failing to prevent heritage buildings from being sold and destroyed. From high profile examples like the Corkman Hotel and the Palace Theatre on Bourke St, to the piecemeal destruction of heritage streets, too much of our history is at risk of being bought up by developers and destroyed to make a profit.

Once a heritage place is gone, it is lost forever.

The Greens' plan includes:

  • Protecting First Nations cultural heritage.
  • Replacing significant or contributory protection with individual or precinct protection.
  • Introducing new statewide standards for maintaining and protecting local heritage buildings.
  • Allowing councils to apply an interim heritage overlay over a property to protect it while its heritage value is assessed.
  • Trialling a new heritage nomination model to protect the community use of a space.


Making big corporations pay their fair share

The Greens will make the big banks, property developers and the gambling industry pay their fair share of tax so we can invest in climate action, affordable housing and public services for all. 

Our plans will also be paid for by spending smarter and making our state borrowings work for the community.

Learn more about how we'll pay for our policies.


Together, we’re powerful.

With more Greens in parliament, we can tackle the climate crisis, make housing affordable and hold the major parties to account.