Proposed Public and Shared Housing Reforms

** Update: The State Government Planning Scheme Amendment has recently been approved.  The changes that have been introduced into the planning schemes include:

  • Use of a property for community care accommodation and rooming houses is now exempt from needing a planning permit under residential and commercial zones, when certain criteria are met.
  • Development of a rooming house also may not need a planning permit in residential zones when specific requirements are met.
  • Introducing a rooming house guideline (replacing the shared housing policy).
  • A car parking rate has been specified for a rooming house of 1 car space per 4 bedrooms.
  • Redefined some of the land use definitions including changing shared housing for rooming house and deleting some outdated terms.

These changes will facilitate the renewal of existing facilities as well as make the development of new facilities easier, hopefully improving access to this needed form of housing.  The changes provide greater certainty for both Councils and land owners/operators.

The State Government is proposing some changes to the planning schemes to facilitate public and shared housing developments. The changes have been drafted up and are now open for public comment until the 16 June 2017.


The proposed changes will introduce planning permit exemptions or reduced permit assessment requirements for some types of public and shared housing proposals. The changes will also include updating the land use definitions to include the term rooming house, and remove the existing terms of shared housing and boarding house. The car parking clause will also be updated to include a car parking requirement for rooming houses of 1 car space per 4 bedrooms. More details on the proposal can be found here.

These changes will provide greater clarity to the planning requirements for these uses as well as provide improved planning certainty and faster turnaround of social housing projects. The changes will also reduce the need for additional consultants such as traffic engineers to justify parking requirements, reducing the burden of cost for some of these applications.

The changes are designed to work with existing regulations to provide consistency for public and shared housing projects. They will facilitate the renewal of existing public housing stock as well as the provision of new social housing and are a welcome change to the planning scheme.