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meaningful policy for meaningful change

Policy advocacy for state & local reform.

A better Melbourne is possible. A Melbourne that is affordable, liveable, and sustainable. A city that is walkable, accessible, and which gives everyone access to the amenity-rich areas that make living here so special.

Creating housing abundance will take a lot of work. It will require reform across planning, governance, and taxation. It will force us to take a serious look at how we use, value, and control the use of land in this city.

You can see our policy outputs below and, if you want to get involved, reach out to our team at contact@yimby.melbourne.
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Building a liveable, affordable, and sustainable city for all

Melbourne's Missing
Middle.

Melbourne’s density drops precipitously from high-rises to single-family homes, with very little medium density between.
Melbourne’s Missing Middle’s signature recommendation—a new Missing Middle Zone—would enable six-storey, mixed-use development on all residential land within 1 kilometre of a train station and 500 metres of a tram stop—building an interconnected network of 1,992 high-amenity, walkable neighbourhoods.

Melbourne’s Missing Middle envisions Parisian streetscapes across all of inner urban Melbourne, along our train and tram lines and near our town centres. Gentle, walk-up apartments, abundant shopfronts, sidewalk cafes and sprawling parks replacing unaffordable and unsustainable cottages. 

The Missing Middle is the most desirable, walkable urban form, typified by inner Paris, and it should be legal to build in our most desirable, economically productive areas.

An accountable system for housing abundance

Missing Middle
Housing Targets.

YIMBY Melbourne’s plan to implement housing targets for a bigger and better Melbourne involves four key steps:

1. Upzone inner-middle Melbourne, increasing zoned capacity by 7.7x
2. Publish annual binding housing targets for the 19 LGAs where demand for infill housing is highest
3. Enforce housing targets through revenue-neutral ‘carrot and stick’ incentives
4. Deliver 40,000 new homes per year across inner-middle Melbourne

We know we need more homes where people want to live, which is why our housing target model is demand-driven. That means that targets are higher when demand outstrips supply, and targets are lower when supply meets demand.

So, the best way for any Council to lower their housing target is simple: build more homes where people want to live.

Four Areas For Reform

Policy Pillars

Land Use & Zoning

Melbourne is Australia's fastest growing city. It should also be the most affordable, liveable, and sustainable.

Planning Processes & Governance

Our planning system should create the Melbourne of tomorrow, not the Melbourne of yesterday.

Taxation, Financing, & Incentives

Government should better capture the value development creates, increase supply, and ensure equitable housing allocation and outcomes.

Heritage & Historical Restrictions on Land Use

Melbourne is Australia's most heritage-protected city. We must allow the next generation to build the city in which they want to live.

Advocacy in your back yard

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But Wait, There's Even More

All Policy Areas

Alternative housing incentive expansion

We should accelerate the adoption of globally successful models of housing, like build-to-rent and cohousing, through expanded incentives.

By-right development expansion

Low-impact densification, such as granny flats, should be allowed without discretionary approval. 

Council planning uniformity

Planning processes must be standardised across councils, in order to increase community and stakeholder certainty, reducing housing costs for all.

Developer contribution reform

The government should ensure that any developer contributions are appropriately allocated to infrastructure around the build, and that a portion of all contributions are hypothecated to increasing public housing stock.

Equitable housing taxation

The government should implement the Henry Report recommendations on capital gains and negative gearing. Tax deductions and benefits should incentivise new housing rather than just enrich incumbents.

Heritage assessment reform

Heritage assessments should consider the costs of an overlay borne by the affected residents and wider community, and the standards for significant, contributory and non-contributory buildings should be consistent across councils. 

Heritage cost burden reform

If a building is worth protecting, it should be protected. Local and state governments should pay the additional cost borne by owners to maintain their heritage-protected homes to the standard set by those governments.

Heritage overlay reform

The bar for a property's inclusion in a heritage overlay should be raised, and existing overlays should be standardised and reviewed periodically to ensure they are fit for current and future residents' needs.

Inclusionary zoning incentive expansion

Ensure the provision of social and affordable housing through in-kind and tangible inclusionary zoning, with strong incentives for tangible inclusionary zoning to create better social outcomes.

Lot consolidation incentives

The government should provide processes and incentives for lot consolidation to enable more precinct-level planning and development.

Overlay reform

Much of Melbourne's land is restricted not only by zoning, but also various overlays. These overlays should be reviewed, simplified, and in many cases removed.

Parking minimum reforms

Upwards of 40% of inner-Melbourne's residential carparks are empty. To reduce housing costs, we must stop forcing the provision of unused car parks in new developments.

Planning Scheme Amendment reform

Planning Scheme Amendments should be solely the responsibility of the state government, rather than local councils. This will increase certainty, and enable better statewide planning.

Planning targets & transparency

Planning data should be made accessible, including time taken for each step in the planning process. Councils should be required to meet both housing and process efficiency targets to reduce planning system abuse.

Restrictive covenant nullification

Restrictive covenants are byzantine historical restrictions on land use, and overturning them requires an appointment with the Supreme Court. Following NSW, the government must legislate the nullification of restrictive covenants.

Soft density upzoning

Melbourne's most restrictive zones should be reformed to enable soft density across the inner-city, including the broad provision of dynamic mixed-use development. 

Stamp duty reform

Stamp duty is a barrier to both new housing supply and the efficient allocation of existing homes. Stamp duty on residential property should be replaced with an annual land-tax.

State underwriting & equity in housing projects

The government should smooth out construction industry cycles by underwriting and taking equity in select projects, increasing public housing supply alongside private development.

Third party objection and appeal rights reform

Third party objection processes currently occur on a per-development basis, creating uncertainty and administrative burden. These processes must be reformed to enable better development and community outcomes.

Transport corridor upzoning

Further development and densification should be enabled around major public transport precincts.

Vacancy tax reform

In their current form, vacant property taxes are difficult to enforce. The government must incentivise better use of housing stock through stronger enforcement measures.

Value capture and windfall gains reform

The government should capture a share of the value created through inner-city residential upzoning. A major portion of that value should be allocated to ambitious public housing builds.