A dedicated Office for Regional Housing has been established by the state government in a bid to tackle chronic housing shortages in South Australia’s regions.
The new Office, which sits within Renewal SA, will support economic development and jobs growth in country areas by providing advice and assistance to help accelerate key strategic housing projects.
South Australia’s regions contribute over $30 billion a year to the state’s economic prosperity across critical industries such as farming, fishing and mining. Increasingly, however, regional growth is being hindered by a shortage of housing stock with regional employers often unable to fill job vacancies due to a lack of suitable housing for additional workers to live.
Regional Key Worker Housing Scheme
To combat this shortage, the Office will immediately roll out a new Regional Key Worker Housing Scheme. In the first instance, the scheme will facilitate the delivery of housing to attract and retain police, teachers and healthcare workers in key country areas.
A pilot program will deliver approximately 30 homes for these key service sectors across the Copper Coast, Riverland, Mount Gambier, Port Augusta and Ceduna.
Houses delivered under the scheme may be sold to private investors under long-term lease arrangements. The construction of these houses is expected to reduce pressure on the private rental market.
Following the delivery of the pilot program, there is scope for it to be expanded to other regions and be available to organisations seeking to secure long-term access to new, fit-for-purpose housing for their workers.
The Office will work with local councils, regional businesses, developers, investors and other stakeholders to coordinate the scheme.
Strategic regional housing projects
In addition, the Office will work with these partners to help facilitate other strategic housing projects that may require some form of assistance or coordination to proceed.
Renewal SA Chief Executive Chris Menz said facilitating projects that specifically contributed to key strategic and economic objectives of the regions would be a key pillar for the Office.
“Every town and every region has unique challenges that at times require a customised approach,” Mr Menz said.
“Renewal SA will utilise its significant expertise in feasibility and project planning to seek to address some of the unique challenges in each area, to increase supply of much needed housing for workers.”
Housing proposals that will be prioritised include those which:
- make a positive impact on the local community’s economy or provide strategic benefits by securing core services
- demonstrate support for South Australian industry including the use of local products, trades and services
- are supported by partnerships and collaborations with other organisations such as government, industry and community
- are able to be delivered in a timely manner, are financially viable and will contribute to the long-term housing needs of the community.
These targeted regional initiatives form part of a suite of housing measures being delivered by the state government, to increase affordable housing throughout the state and provide additional support for renters and homebuyers.