The Queensland Government has released an action plan to tackle the housing affordability crisis in mining regions.
The Regional and Resource Towns Action Plan includes a range of initiatives and on the ground projects to be undertaken in the next 12 – 24 months in response to specific circumstances being experienced by communities in Queensland.
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney said the document outlined how state and local government can work together to ease land supply and housing problems facing our resource communities.
“Major planning reform is underway across the state, including the preparation of regional plans for Western Downs, Central Queensland and Cape York, but the pressures in some regional and resource communities means that more immediate action is necessary,” Seeney said.
“For this reason actions were identified to address perceived impediments to development ahead of the outcomes of the regional planning process.
“This plan outlines a series of actions to be undertaken in the next one to two years to help regional resource communities take advantage of the benefits of mining development.
“The issues and actions were identified during a series of 11 regional workshops organised by my department in Dalby, Roma, Mount Isa, Emerald, Toowoomba, Cairns, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Moranbah and Mackay.
Seeney said the actions for improvement will developing vacant state land for an affordable housing project in Chinchilla, investigating a potential priority development area in Blackwater, work with Mackay Regional Council on a potential demonstration project in Mackay and undertake a pilot project with Gladstone Regional Council for inclusion of housing diversity in the new planning scheme.
Rising house prices have been plaguing Queensland's resources regions for several years now, an unwelcome side effect of booming mining investment.
Last year, Moranbah real estate manager Bella Exposito told Australian Mining investors had seen $200 to $300 rises on houses.
“I’ve been dealing real estate for almost 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said.
Exposito said rents in Moranbah usually topped out around $2000 a week, but the town’s highest prices hovered around $3400.
Resources companies argue the massive influx of workers has helped stimulate local economies and provided opportunities for small business.
But many in the community don’t see it that way and there is a growing disquiet among locals about the negative impacts of the boom and its transient workers.
Exposito, say the housing crisis is primarily the fault of the council and State Government, which have been slow in releasing land.
A new report examining the impacts FIFO and DIDO has on the community was released last month exposing the downsides of using a transient workforce.
The report found that an influx of temporary workers is creating housing shortages, driving up prices, and straining public services.