MBV CEO Michaela Lihou says they have focused on key measures to allow the industry to continue delivering crucial infrastructure and building homes for Victorians, particularly in light of the Government’s Housing Statement which has set a bold target of delivering 800,000 new homes over the next decade. 

“Building and construction is one of the largest sectors in our state’s economy, with one of the largest multiplier effects and every $1 million of building activity generates a total of almost $3 million in economic activity and supports nine full-time jobs,” she says.  

“Our industry can play a major role in helping the government achieve its critical visions for the future housing needs of the Victorian community.”  

“While we commend the state government on their bold vision for much-needed housing for Victorians, we can only achieve this if the government supports our industry by helping us address skills shortages and improves planning delivery to ensure future developments meet the needs of communities, with an appropriate focus on innovation and sustainability,” she says. 

“And importantly, we need measures to promote housing affordability and provide certainty for building and construction businesses to ensure that Victoria’s economy will continue to thrive.” 

MBV’s submission focuses on four priority areas: 

  • Housing affordability 
  • Skills and training 
  • Supporting building and construction businesses 
  • Innovation and sustainability 

On social and affordable housing, MBV is calling for more transparency and more collaborative approaches to tender processes for the delivery of state-owned building projects, which it argues will demonstrate greater certainty for the industry to secure a pipeline of work. It says this would enable smaller contractors and suppliers to be involved in supporting the state’s housing needs.  

“We also believe the government needs to look more closely at purchasing ‘distressed assets’ for use as social housing,” says Ms Lihou. 

“In times of economic downturn, purchasing these assets will address the shortage of social housing and support homeowners who may be forced to sell in a weak market. In the short term, this will create greater stimulation across multiple segments of the economy. Purchasing will also allow the state to own assets which can appreciate in the medium to long term.”  

MBV is also calling for greater support for ‘build to rent’ as a long-term asset class, with financing support to create favorable subsidies and modified tax treatment to be financially viable.

“We also need to reduce the taxation burden on housing to incentivize investment to support the government’s commitment to housing growth,” says Ms Lihou. 

“For example, we would suggest that no additional property-related taxes be introduced until a review of the current taxation settings is undertaken to understand its impact on housing affordability. And we’d like to see the elimination of stamp duty tax in a long-term taxation plan, to be replaced with a broad-based land tax.”   

Removing foreign surcharges on stamp duty and increasing thresholds for first home buyer stamp duty exemptions and concessions are also suggested to boost much needed demand and private sector investment. 

The MBV submission also calls on the government to rethink urban densities and land supply.  

“We need better incentives to encourage the development of high-density residential buildings such as apartments, secondary dwellings, and duplexes for local governments. And we need to require local governments to set targets to provide greater supply options and be rewarded for good performance,” says Ms Lihou.  

“We would also suggest taking proactive steps to activate land in regional areas by asking the Victorian Planning Authority to urgently lead, develop and deliver a pipeline of state-led releases across Victoria with an initial focus on the Wodonga, Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo areas.”  

MBV is also calling for more fast-track planning approvals for non-contentious developments and that released land be appropriately subdivided to ensure that energy efficiencies and savings can be maximised in designing homes.  

Improvements in planning delivery with greater streamlining of planning applications and incentives to encourage higher energy efficiency outcomes are also targets in MBV’s submission. 

“There are many things that we can do collaboratively with the government and key stakeholders to improve our outlook and our efficiency in achieving the housing and construction the Victorian community deserves over the coming years,” says Ms Lihou. 

“We are putting our ideas forward now in the hope that they will generate proactive conversations about opportunities for improvements.” 

“Over the coming weeks, I look forward to sharing more of our suggestions re addressing skills and training challenges, how we can better support building and construction businesses and how we can better focus on innovation and sustainability.”