The Victorian Government has set up a dedicated task force to help keep the state's building and development industry running through the coronavirus crisis and come back stronger in the end.
The task force will be overseen by Planning Minister Richard Wynne and Treasurer Tim Pallas and will investigate planning and investment opportunities to boost the industry over the short, medium and long term. It will provide advice to government on issues impacting the industry, helping to remove barriers to building and development works.
The announcement, made on Friday 24 April, includes four new projects worth more than $1.5 billion. The buildings are located on City Road, Southbank, Epsom Road in Flemington and two on Collins Street in the CBD and should create "thousands of Victorian jobs when they are needed most," says a State Government media release.
The task force will initially focus on overseeing the fast-tracking of planning approvals using Ministerial powers, where decisions have been delayed due to coronavirus-related impacts on the Victorian Planning System. The Government will also seek the task force's advice on a pipeline of building and development projects in the long term, including initiatives that further expand social housing options. It will also advise on financial incentives and current revenue measures like land tax, developer contributions, fees and rates.
With involvement from members of HIA, Lendlease and Solar Victoria, the task force is committed to working with industry and unions.
"Given the economic challenges caused by coronavirus, it's more important than ever that we support our building and development industry and the thousands of people it employs," says Pallas.
HIA Victorian executive director Fiona Nield says: "As in previous economic crises, the housing industry has effectively kept the economy moving with the assistance of programs aimed at supporting housing supply and generating demand. The expected decline in housing needs to be addressed now to limit a range of negative economic consequences that would flow from reduced housing supply should the situation be prolonged."