Edition 2: September 2023
Recognising the importance of affordable housing
One of the key priorities in the NCA Strategic Plan 2023-2025 is Jobs and Skills Growth.
As part of our focus on this important priority, we recently endorsed an advocacy paper on the issue of affordable housing for key workers.
As demand outstrips supply, more people across Melbourne’s north undertake a long commute between home and places of work and activity centres, predominately by car. This includes key workers in service occupations such as health, education and emergency services, who often need to travel long distances to their places of employment or are faced with having to relocate.
The NCA asks that the state and federal governments consider key worker
accommodation as an important issue when considering
Currently, there are no federal or state government housing programs or
policies specifically designed to support key workers’ access to housing.
Delivery of affordable housing for low and moderate income earners, more
broadly, has been limited by lack of enabling legislation and consistent funding.
In Victoria, initiatives to provide key worker housing are also sporadic across LGAs. The availability of affordable housing (rental or buying) is a challenge for many in the north because of increases in house prices and challenges experienced in accessing appropriate affordable housing.
To ensure success, it is understood that programs designed to support key workers must apply both the key worker definition and an income threshold to determine eligibility.
Provision of affordable housing will unlock growth opportunities for businesses that are struggling to recruit staff and are battling to grow the business. It also means there will be a larger labour catchment to support workforce requirements.
From a strictly economic perspective, this will potentially unlock residential and commercial opportunities and make significantly better use of the transport and other infrastructure that already exists in this region. And from a social construct, providing affordable housing to those most in need – close to employment opportunities and negating the need for cars – will provide significant social benefits.
Our key asks of state and federal governments are:
effectively engage local government in the development of long-term solutions to the affordable housing and worker accommodation crisis
mandate a percentage of affordable housing for workers, particularly those with low to moderate incomes, as part of precinct and activity centre development
fast track short-term Precinct Structure Plans and infrastructure projects, including consideration of key worker precincts, and develop health and education precincts
incorporate mandatory inclusionary zoning in the Victorian Planning Provisions to increase the supply of affordable housing in new private developments
investigate the use of public sector land to deliver affordable housing for key workers
allow employers to develop homes for key workers (for example, by allowing housing in non-residential zones for affordable key worker housing only)
develop investment guidelines to encourage private investment in housing for key workers
develop a government shared ownership program for properties delivered through some of the above mechanisms
develop a definition of key workers and define their income thresholds.
The NCA will continue to advocate to state and federal governments for action in this important area.
Further information can be found here.