Spencer Gulf City mayors seek to work with government and community to address housing crisis | The Transcontinental
The mayors of Spencer Gulf Cities (SGC) have released the results of their housing survey, identifying some of the top quality of life issues our region is experiencing.
According to SGC, the primary purpose of the survey was to address the urgent need for residential accommodation for temporary and permanent workers in the region, which it says is hampering vital economic growth.
SGC also outlined a target population growth of 9% over the next 10 years, making livability and residential availability all the more important for the region.
Some of the main issues highlighted in the survey were the lack of available rental housing, wait times for new home construction, builders unable to source materials to build community housing, and workers on major projects. occupying up to 98% of tourist accommodation due to having nowhere to stay.
Port Augusta Mayor Brett Benbow said he wants people to be able to drive down the streets and see “respectable” housing that inspires new residents to the area to want to live in the city.
“From what we’re hearing and looking at with the mining industry and so on, there are opportunities in Spencer Gulf, so we need to make sure those people can come and stay,” he said. .
“We are looking at the RFDS with its medical vocational training from here we have the new ambulance station being built which I guess would create more jobs for these people so these people need opportunities to have residential areas to live and be part of our community.
“We want to work with the government to try to get a good outcome for everyone and use the available land as best we can to meet our needs.”
The Mayor of Port Pirie and the Councils of SGC Chairman Leon Stephens want to partner with the government, private and community sectors to try to meet the housing needs in the area.
“A key part of our state election platform is housing and we’re not seeing a lot of information from candidates and parties about how they will address this issue in our region,” he said. .
“We are pleased that the Liberal and Labor parties have recognized the importance of meeting with the SGC mayors and we intend to ensure that housing continues to be a key issue in our discussions with whoever forms government after national elections.
Deputy Prime Minister and Stuart candidate Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the housing issue is a “good problem to have”.
“Unemployment has dropped dramatically in all three Upper Spencer Gulf towns and that’s absolutely remarkable, but of course, what goes with it, a good problem to have when unemployment is so low is the need to bring in workers from other parts of the state or country or potentially overseas to fill these jobs,” he said.
“It’s a challenge to figure out exactly where these people will live and be housed, but it’s a good problem to have, it’s a growing pain problem.”
The full list of SGC survey results includes:
- rental demand is not met – public, community and private,
- home sales increase with values,
- construction times for new homes can reach three years,
- community housing providers do not have sufficient inventory to meet needs
- investment in the area by the SA Housing Authority does not meet the needs and in many cases the housing stock is not maintained,
- much of the property in some towns is over 40 years old and not maintained,
- pressure on housing affordability drives up rents,
- rent increases are $20 to $80 per week,
- evidence that rents are rising and impacting affordability, especially among young people,
- Central or low-income workers struggle to pay their rents and feed their families,
- there is state and local government land that could be freed up to build houses to meet needs,
- SA Infrastructure water costs for large housing projects are significant and costing arrangements are not flexible enough to spread costs over the life of a development to allow them to move forward ,
- all housing is a priority (affordable, crisis, executive),
- workers on major projects take tourism, hotel rooms and rentals available due to lack of housing available for workers,
- some tourist accommodations are occupied up to 98% by workers, unlike tourists in some cities,
- employers offer incentives to recruit workers and housing is a key element, and
- no rentals were available during some aspects of the investigation period.