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New planning squad takes flight to solve housing shortage and grow rural and regional Victoria

More Victorians will be able to build the home of their dreams under a Liberal Nationals plan to increase land availability by fast-tracking planning approvals.

The plan will deliver 50,000 new lots of land across rural and regional Victorian councils, excluding areas in the Melbourne urban-growth boundary and the City of Greater Geelong.

Announcing the policy today at The Nationals State Conference in Wonthaggi, Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said more new homes meant more Victorians with a roof over their head.

“No matter whether you are an owner-occupier or a renter, by making more lots of land available for Victorians to build their dream home we can fix the worsening housing shortage,” Mr Walsh said.

“Victoria’s long lockdowns – and the ongoing uncertainty that we won’t endure more of them – is seeing more Victorians than ever before make the move out of Melbourne.

“Country Victoria is a great place to live and work, but the influx of home buyers and renters has sent house prices soaring, while rental vacancy rates have plummeted.

“By making it easier to plan and build new homes, it will free up established properties for individuals and families who are looking to rent.”

Regional towns including Horsham, Sale, Shepparton, Echuca, and Bendigo are already feeling the housing squeeze.

Without new lots being opened up for new housing, country communities will miss out on the benefits of an increasing population, like additional small business opportunities and better services to meet the growing demand.

The Liberal Nationals’ plan will open 50,000 new lots of land in rural and regional communities by allocating $5 million to establish a new planning flying squad and by speeding up and simplifying the planning approvals process.

The planning flying squad will provide rural and regional councils with the resources and skillsets they need to assess applications, faster.

“We’re hearing from councils that they’re under-resourced to deal with strategic or statutory considerations that will fast-track land to market,” Mr Walsh said.

“But when that process is finally done, it’s so hard to get these planning applications across the Minister’s desk that councils and developers are finding it near impossible to bring new lots to market.

“By establishing a planning flying squad and reforming the laws, a Liberal Nationals government will make sure proposals don’t drown in green tape, red tape and bureaucratic speak from government departments. “While the Andrews Labor Government is putting in new taxes that make it harder to own a home, by contrast the Liberal Nationals have a vision for more new homes to make our state a state of cities, not just a city-state.”

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