Government wants back BMA’s Moranbah houses

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The Queensland Government says it wants back 100 Moranbah homes, leased to BMA outside the boom period, now the housing market is so tight.

The houses were vacant several years ago and also during the Global Financial Crisis, but with their leases ending around the middle of 2012, the Government is moving to retake them.

Housing Minister Karen Struthers said retaking the homes would allow the Government to help provide affordable housing in Moranbah.

Some otherwise unremarkable houses and units in Moranbah can charge around $3000 a week in rent, while the average is closer to $2000.

In a visit to locals this week Struthers said rents were “excessive” and she was upping funding to help Moranbah locals get advice on their housing rights.  

Last week Struthers also announced a Rent Affordability Taskforce would be working for low income earners in mining towns to help them find affordable housing.

Most mining employees pay around $60 to $100 a week on their accommodation, with resources companies picking up the rest of the bill.

The measure is designed as a perk to attract workers to remote regions.

Earlier this month Isaac Regional Council Mayor Cedric Marshall told Australian Mining the rents in Moranbah were at “irresponsible” and “unsustainable” levels.

He said the greed of investors was driving the problem, and there was “not much we could do” to provide a solution.

But Moranbah Real Estate agent Bella Exposito said the local council and State Government needed to work to release more land and encourage development.

She said locals and small businesses also needed to be given a better chance of competing for competitive land tenders against mining companies.

Marshall said while the council and State Government had no control over what landowners charged, they were working to release land and he expected more development to be on the ground next year.

But he said development needed to be at sustainable levels so the town did not suffer outside boom periods.

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