Victoria, top of the charts – By Richard Wynne, Victorian Minister For Planning

It’s no secret Victoria is at the top of the charts when it comes to the best Australian state to live, work or invest – and it’s no surprise Geelong is playing its part.
More than 1500 people have moved to Geelong’s southern suburbs in 12 months. And it’s the fastest growing locality outside Melbourne.
We launched the Revitalising Central Geelong Action Plan to breath new life into the CBD and it’s paying dividends. Since 2015, I have approved more than $260 million worth of construction, including office space, student housing and apartments.
These projects speak to the new-found confidence in Geelong as a major attraction for investment.
Importantly, people are choosing to live in the heart of Geelong, with a number of CBD apartment towers approved or on the drawing board.
Geelong is thriving, and it’s fast becoming one of Victoria’s most sought-after places to live.
That’s great news for growing communities, and it’s great news for would-be developers too. Business is booming.
The opportunities are immense, but it also means we have to take action to protect the liveability and character that make our neighborhoods great places to work, live and raise a family.
Our new residential zoning rules do just that.
Creating stronger controls that govern what can and can’t be built means certainty for neighborhoods and spells an end to confusing planning decisions that have often meant costly and stressful gambles at VCAT.
Most importantly, the controls are helping all communities play their part in accommodating for growth – but never at the expense of our renowned liveability.
A hallmark of our reforms is our minimum garden area requirement, which will protect the much-loved Aussie backyard.
We’ve also introduced mandatory height controls, so that developers know just what can be built – once and for all – and can’t cite confusing or ambiguous planning controls at VCAT.
Home ownership is the great Australian dream, but it’s become harder for many young Victorians to realise.
There’s no quick and simple fix, but we’re giving young Victorians the best help they need to buy a home.
We’re abolishing stamp duty for first home buyers on homes up to $600,000, cutting stamp duty on homes valued up to $750,000, and doubling the First Home Owner Grant to $20,000 in regional Victoria.
The government is striving to make our cities and towns as liveable as possible. We’re under no illusions that it’s a big job, but we’re up for the challenge.

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