Housing Policy

PRINCIPLES

1. Housing is a fundamental human right.

2. Access to secure, appropriate, and affordable housing is a crucial determinant of health and well-being.

3. Safe and secure housing supports social participation and enables access to employment and social services.

4. Homelessness is a violation of human rights and inconsistent with a compassionate society.

5. Access to housing should be free from discrimination.

6. All tiers of government are collectively obligated to ensure the supply of high quality public and community housing that meets both our existing needs and projected demand.

7. People experiencing crisis, including people complex circumstances or who require additional assistance, should be provided with immediate and appropriate housing and support.

8. Tenants in private rental, public and community housing must be supported by legislative safeguards.

9. The housing needs of all Victorians should be met through the provision of a mix of affordable public, community and private options.

10. Public land and housing assets set aside for public housing must be retained in public ownership, not privatised.

11. Public land that is suitable for public and community housing should not be sold.

12. New urban developments should be integrated with environmental, public transport, and employment strategies and facilitate community interaction.

13. Public participation in the planning, assessment, development and management of public and community housing is a right and should be facilitated by planning authorities.

14. The housing needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be met as a matter of urgency.

15. Best-practice environmental design and retrofitting should be implemented in all housing, both new and existing, to minimise the environmental footprint and improve amenity.

16. Housing must be provided with sufficient community infrastructure and open space.

AIMS

General

1. The elimination of housing-related poverty.

2. Housing that meets the needs of people on low incomes and people with insecure tenures who are at risk of homelessness.

3. Greater diversity in housing to meet the accessibility needs of changing demographics and disadvantaged groups.

4. Improved legal security of tenure and reduced discrimination.

5. Sufficient supply of affordable housing to meet current and emerging needs.

6. Planning practices that increase provision of ecologically sustainable, affordable, and diverse housing stock with increased engagement of local governments in delivering local solutions.

7. Existing subsidies and incentives for property investment should be altered to improve housing affordability across all tenure types.

Affordable Home Ownership

8. Greater access to affordable home ownership.

9. Mandatory inclusionary zoning in all residential growth zones, activity centres and large apartment blocks.

10. Develop mechanisms to facilitate lower-income home ownership.

11. Promote alternative forms of home ownership facilitation to the market, including community land trusts, leasehold schemes, co-housing, self- build schemes and shared equity.

12. Increase taxes on vacant properties to encourage increased availability of rental properties.

13. Support collaborative or deliberative models of housing, through local and state planning policies and incentives, to allow alternative models of housing and reduce cost of ownership.

Public Housing

14. Existing public housing stock and land to remain in public hands.

15. All Victorians who require it to have access to affordable public housing with security of tenure, and appropriate support services where necessary.

16. Increased investment in public housing through budgetary allocations to substantially reduce state-wide waiting times.

17. Restructure the existing allocations system to provide greater housing choice and flexibility.

18. An adequate supply of public housing with appropriate support to cater for people in crisis or experiencing multiple and complex challenges.

19. Promote tenant participation in decisions about public housing services.

20. Public housing to be in locations that provide reasonable access to employment, health-care, public transport, open space, schools and other social and facilities.

Community Housing

21. Ensure security of tenure for community housing tenants.

22. Increased funding to reduce waiting lists for community housing including a permanent program of ongoing government capital grants to increase supply.

23. Targeted housing assistance and innovative financing models for more effective community housing supply.

24. Promote tenant participation in decisions about community housing services.

25. Support community housing providers to increase the supply of affordable housing.

Private Rental

26. Increase the supply of affordable private rental accommodation including through innovative funding mechanisms.

27. Greater tenant rights, including:

  • a. strictly regulating tenancy databases;
  • b. banning rental bidding;
  • c. ensuring security of tenure, by ending “without grounds” eviction;
  • d. ending discrimination including allowing children and pets;
  • e. establishing rent controls;
  • f. mandated quality standards; and ,
  • g. access to rapid no cost resolution of disputes with landlords.

28. Greater tenant support and advocacy, in particular for vulnerable groups such as international students and rooming house residents.

29. Strengthen the rights of caravan park residents.

30. Eliminate Homelessness through a state-wide suite of programs, including

  • a. early intervention programs to address the housing crisis and prevent homelessness, including the Tenancy Plus type model;
  • b. crisis responses covering assertive outreach models plus availability of short term accommodation (e.g. refuges and generalist crisis accommodation facilities);
  • c. transitional housing and support packages (using public and community housing and private rental stock) to enable households to build their foundations living skills and resources to then take up independent housing (e.g. the youth foyers);
  • d. integration of housing with the provision of flexible packages of support matched to individual circumstances, needs and capabilities to prevent recurring homelessness of vulnerable households;
  • e. supported housing with permanent tenure and adequate level of floating or residential support according to individual needs, such as that espoused by the “Housing First” model; and,
  • f. enable people in housing crisis to directly access permanent housing.

31. Ensure that housing assistance and support is available across all entry points including crisis accommodation and outreach services to eliminate turn-aways and resolve rough sleeping.

32. Promote the participation of people experiencing homelessness in decisions regarding their housing and support services.

33. Ensure that early intervention programs of support for households or individuals at risk of becoming homeless are adequately resourced to prevent homelessness.

Retirement Housing

34. Improved regulatory oversight of retirement housing.

35. Reduce the complexity of contracts, including exit fees, and ensure the inclusion in all contracts a minimum set of tenants and owners’ rights and provider obligations.

36. Ensure free advocacy or legal advice is available and disclosed to anybody seeking rental or retirement village accommodation.

Housing Standards for Access, Health and Environmental Sustainability

37. Strengthen disability access provisions in all new and existing housing.

38. Reduce the environmental impact of housing, both during construction and throughout the life of the building by promoting the use of eco-friendly or recycled construction materials and fittings.

39. Enforce high minimum standards of durability, energy efficiency, noise insulation, privacy, and water conservation in new and old buildings.

40. Adapt public and community housing to mitigate the effects of climate change, such as heat stress.

41. Provide financial assistance to home-owners and landlords, for the installation of solar panels and energy and water efficiency retrofits.

42. Mandatory disclosure of the energy ratings of residential buildings when they are for sale.

43. Encourage experimental housing that fosters innovation and the above aims.

44. Accelerate the use of zero carbon emission building technologies and green building design.

Housing Policy as amended by State Council on 18th August 2018.