“We applaud the Victorian government’s commitment to infrastructure in the release of their five-year plan, citing urgent road projects including North East Link and the Metro tunnel project,” Radley de Silva, CEO Master Builders Association of Victoria said. “But we lament the virtual absence of urban development and planning, which appear to have dropped down on their list of priorities.”

“The Government’s embrace of 134 of Infrastructure Victoria’s recommended 137 actions is a good thing, but even Infrastructure Victoria failed to recognise the critical urgency of planning and development in their analysis, despite our loud and consistent calls,” Mr de Silva said.

“Victoria’s current rapid population boom is already on the brink of overwhelming many city councils’ ability to meet approval deadlines, meaning even worse council planning delays and higher costs for homeowners and builders alike unless major reform is prioritised by this government.

“Last year over 127,000 people added to the state population, and there is no slow-down in sight. We will need to build residents more than 2.2 million new homes by 2051” he said. “Planning delay pile-ups increase the cost of building at a time when Victorians are ill-equipped to shoulder that burden.”

“We need some sort of centralised decision-making for planning that will take appropriate decisions out of the hands of councils to address these delays.

“A damning report from the Victorian Auditor General’s Office earlier this year confirmed that the planning department and councils are not effective at implementing the current planning system, with delays that extend well beyond the recommended 60-day timeframe to 120 days or longer,” Mr de Silva said.

“Neither the 30-Year Plan nor the Victorian Infrastructure Plan released yesterday appears to offer details for a centralised, strategic planning approach that will actually deliver new housing in existing suburbs. It misses the crucial opportunity to fix our flawed system—a system that currently enables local councils to create separate and inconsistent planning schemes, and that has been proven not to work,” he said.