Planning loophole fixed for clearer shared housing rules

The Andrews Labor Government has fixed a planning loophole so all new rooming houses in a residential zone will go through a proper planning process.

A lack of clarity in the state’s planning rules had caused confusion about the planning permits needed for shared housing developments.

Victoria’s shared housing provisions have now been changed to clarify that developers of shared housing, such as boarding houses and rooming houses, will require a planning permit to build in residential zones.

Previously, there was no specific reference to development and construction for rooming house accommodation in the planning provisions.

The planning irregularity came to light following rooming house proposal at Concord Place in Cranbourne, prompting local member Jude Perera to advocate on behalf of his community for change.

Acting Minister for Planning Lisa Neville said the rooming house operators and developers, councils, communities would now have greater certainty and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal would also have clearer rules for its decision-making.

While this change immediately triggers the need for a permit, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has also begun a broader review of planning rules for shared housing, crisis accommodation and community care, to identify any other areas needing improvement.

While development approval will now be needed, rooming houses do not need a use permit, an exemption which will remain in place to avoid creating red tape for community care and crisis accommodation providers.

City of Casey Mayor Sam Aziz welcomed the announcement and said the council thanked the Minister for Planning for responding swiftly to the council and community concerns.

Quotes attributable to Acting Minister for Planning Lisa Neville

“These are practical changes that will provide greater clarity around where permit exemptions apply for shared housing.

“After four years of the previous Liberal government ignoring community voices, we are delivering the transparent and fair planning system we promised.

“The Andrews Labor Government will continue to make changes that deliver a stronger, vibrant and more transparent planning and building industry.”

Quotes attributable to the Member for Cranbourne, Jude Perera

“I have spoken to many residents who want to have their say in new Cranbourne developments, people whose opinions matter and have been heard by the Labor Government.

“Our voices have led to a long-term loophole fix for Cranbourne.

Quotes attributable to City of Casey Mayor, Sam Aziz

“Council, in particular Balla Balla Ward Councillor Geoff Ablett, has long been advocating on behalf of Casey residents for an urgent review of the rooming house planning scheme provisions and it’s fantastic the State Government has listened.

“The changes proposed by the state government will ensure purpose built rooming house development proposals occur with planning approval from council first, allowing council to consider the impacts on amenity and safety and ultimately providing certainty to local residents.”

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