Views sought on housing policy

The draft policy is out for consultation until May 21 (Unsplash).

Zoe Moffatt

The Macedon Ranges Affordable Housing Policy draft is out for community consultation after being unanimously carried at the last council meeting.

The draft policy was endorsed to be released for community consultation at the meeting on Wednesday, April 26, and will be presented to council for consideration in June.

Planning and environment director Rebecca Stockfeld said the policy aimed to build on the council’s Interim Affordable Housing Policy, which was adopted in December 2021.

“[The] policy… goal [was] to increase the supply of appropriate affordable housing in the Macedon Ranges through [council’s] role as an advocate, decision maker, facilitator and investor,” Ms Stockfeld said.

“The interim policy was developed as a first step… to convey council’s intent to engage with the Victorian government and our community on this important issue.”

Deputy mayor Jennifer Anderson said she likes the advocacy role that is outlined in the draft policy.

“Unfortunately, the state government sets the planning scheme but here we’re looking at what we can try and do both within the scheme but also to try and change the scheme,” Cr Anderson said.

“In particular, when we look at release of new land and… how do we make sure we are able to include truly social and affordable housing, not a developer definition.

“Unfortunately, the planning scheme, in my opinion, is not strong enough but our document will advocate for that.

“There really is housing stress out there, so I think this document goes a long way to let people know that we really want to support those in our community that are a little bit more vulnerable.

“I encourage people to have a look again and see the data and to provide us with any feedback or thoughts you might have on how we could improve the document.”

Residents can provide feedback on the policy from April 27 to May 21, through an online survey, in-person or online drop in sessions, or by calling, emailing or writing to the council.