Council tackles housing affordability

Support local, independent journalism

The SE Voice is the Limestone Coast’s only fully digital publication. Locally owned & operated, we deliver all the latest news & sport direct to your fingertips. We're run by a creative team of local journalists all based in the region. News as we know has changed - we're delivering it first and free. Thank you for your support in keeping local news alive.

Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

Council tackles housing affordability

Mount Gambier City Council has released its Draft Local Housing Affordability Plan and is seeking community feedback.

The plan represents a step forward to address the need for affordable housing for the Mount Gambier community.

Affordable housing refers to housing that is accessible and affordable to those with low to moderate incomes.

In a report to council, Economy, Strategy and Engagement manager Biddie Shearing said navigating the complexities of affordable housing requires continuous monitoring and collaboration.

She said this is to ensure effective allocation of resources and alignment with evolving policies and community needs.

“Mount Gambier, like many places, is currently experiencing a crisis regarding accessible and affordable housing,” Ms Shearing said.

“This plan aims to contribute to developing a diverse and inclusive community where everyone can find suitable housing that meets their needs, without experiencing an excessive financial burden.

“Affordable housing is a focal point for action across all levels of government, non-government providers, public housing authorities, government funding bodies, private financiers and property developers.

The landscape is intricate, demanding ongoing attention.

“An elected member briefing was held in August 2023, providing an update on the planned approach to develop a local affordable housing plan for Mount Gambier.

The Affordable Housing Plan for Mount Gambier has been influenced by the Local Affordable Housing Tool kit developed by the South Australia Housing Authority.

“Extensive consultation has occurred in the development of this plan through the establishment of a Mount Gambier Housing Alliance.

“The plan is aligned with our strategic plan, emphasising the importance of affordable housing for growth.

It is also identified as a priority on the Strategic Work Plan 2023-2026.”

The 13-page document goes into more detail about what is affordable housing, insight into Mount Gambier, the issue, opportunities and constraints, existing roles and strategies, what is council doing, vision, priorities and action plan.

The report stated, over the past decade, Mount Gambier has experienced notable changes in population dynamics, employment patterns, housing affordability and homelessness rates.

“In the last five years, housing pries have risen significantly, with the median house price soaring by 65.2% and the median unit price increasing by 51.8%,” Ms Shearing said.

“This increase in housing costs has implications for housing affordability, especially considering the median rent for houses is at $400 per week.

“Over the past three years, the city has witnessed a concerning rise in homelessness, increasing by a staggering 115% per financial year.”

The report stated the challenge for people is availability, suitability and affordability.

According to the report, data reveals a consistent preference for three bedroom houses in both buying and renting, and a growing demand for smaller housing units such as one bedroom units and townhouses.

“A significant issue is the number of homes being built to match the growth in population and households,” Ms Shearing said.

The report also stated global supply chain issues and labour shortages has been slowing down home construction in Mount Gambier.

Following community consultation, a further report will be presented to council to consider any submissions received in response to the public consultation.

Community consultation closes on June 14 with an elected member briefing to review the Draft Affordable Housing Plan with community feedback considerations on July 2.

The final draft Affordable Housing Plan will be presented to council for endorsement at its July monthly meeting.

Why wait? Get more stories like this delivered straight to your inbox
Join our digital edition mailing list and stay up to date on the latest news, events and special announcements from across the Limestone Coast.

Your local real estate guide - every Thursday


You might also like