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Regional built-up suburb with developed houses in the foreground and a new development in the background

Housing supply in key regions across South Australia are set to receive a much-needed boost with the Office for Regional Housing successfully securing the first country-based builders to deliver key worker housing.

Rockford Homes, Empak Homes and Constructwell will build the first 13 homes of the Regional Key Worker Housing Scheme across Mount Gambier, Port Augusta and Renmark - a significant step towards addressing gaps in housing supply and the retention of frontline workers in those areas.

Empak will deliver four homes in Mount Gambier after planning approval was secured earlier this week. The third-generation family-owned business, which employs 17 people, brings local experience to the project, having delivered multiple South Australian Housing Authority (SAHA) homes for the Limestone Coast community in recent years.

Five much needed houses will be constructed by Rockford in Renmark, where it will support local supply chains and employ all fully licensed local trades and craftsmen. Constructwell will also build four homes in Port Augusta rounding out the first tranche of construction.

Works are anticipated to commence on all three sites in early to mid-2024, with houses ready for workers to move in during 2025.

The two-and-three-bedroom homes will house essential government staff, including teachers, police officers, and healthcare workers and help to ease pressure on local housing markets.

The homes will assist to underpin the growth of these key regional locations and make them an attractive place for government employees to live and work.

Shane Wingard, Renewal SA's Executive Director Residential Project Delivery and Assets, highlighted the importance of initiatives like the Regional Key Worker Housing Scheme which will play a pivotal role in supporting regional growth.

“These new developments will ensure there is adequate housing for government workers so they can deliver vital services in these regional towns. In turn, this will free up other housing stock for private businesses so they can look to grow their workforces too."

Shane Wingard, Renewal SA's Executive Director Residential Project Delivery and Assets

Housing Industry Australia Executive Director Stephen Knight said the announcement came at a welcome time.

“The addition of new homes in South Australia’s regions will help replenish housing stock and draw key workers to the region. It will also provide opportunities for apprentices and trainees, both young men and women who are keen to stay in their home towns. If local building businesses and suppliers can see a consistent pipeline of work ahead, they will have the confidence to invest in their future workforce,” Mr Knight said.

City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin said council had been working with the state government on a number of housing fronts, including social, affordable and key worker housing.

“We are excited to see that this scheme is going to deliver new homes in Mount Gambier for key workers which will help us to attract and retain workers, while also freeing up homes in the private rental market,” Mayor Martin said.

“We are pleased to see practical outcomes delivered on the ground using the skills and knowledge of a local builder.”

Upon completion, the properties will be leased to the Department of Infrastructure and Transport’s Government Employee Housing (GEH) program, which coordinates housing arrangements for government agency workers in regional South Australia.

The ongoing success of the Regional Key Worker Housing Scheme is expected to see more regions added to the Office for Regional Housing’s portfolio of work, benefiting organisations and businesses seeking long-term access to fit-for-purpose housing for their workers.

The Office for Regional Housing, established as part of the state government's A Better Housing Future initiative, remains committed to tackling the chronic housing shortage in country areas and supporting regional communities.

For further information, please visit or contact [email protected].

Concept for housing in Port Augusta West

Concept for housing in Port Augusta West

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