12 steps towards affordable housing on the Coast
  • Thursday 25 June 2009

Fast tracking development applications for affordable housing proposals, investigating share accommodation and developing an affordable housing support policy are some of the recommendations the Sunshine Coast Housing Affordability Taskforce will present to council for consideration at the August round of council meetings.

At yesterdays meeting (24 June), the taskforce finalised 12 recommendations that if adopted by council, will help improve the supply of affordable and appropriate housing to Sunshine Coast residents.

Council’s Social Strategy Portfolio holder and Housing Affordability Taskforce Chair, Cr Anna Grosskreutz, is proud to present these key recommendations from the taskforce to council.

“The taskforce has been very productive and efficient. Since September last year, representatives from different industries have come together and created a range of recommendations that incorporate the key housing affordability issues from each industry,” Cr Grosskreutz said.

“The recommendations focus on growth and development, strategic policy areas and cultural change.

“For growth and development, the recommendations included developing an affordable housing support policy for council to consider that could include a range of additional financial and in-kind support services—such as reduced application fees and infrastructure charges—to lower the cost of building.

“The taskforce also suggests a fast-track or priority system for development applications that are deemed ‘affordable’, and a review of the current planning schemes to investigate opportunities to facilitate more affordable housing solutions.

“The taskforce would also like to gain a better understanding of share accommodation arrangements to improve options for safe and legal share accommodation as this could be another way to help reduce housing stress and better utilise many of the large and under utilised homes on the coast.

“There is also a recognised need to work with the community and the development industry to deliver housing that is better suited to household sizes. The majority of houses on the Sunshine Coast are large, consisting of three or more bedrooms yet most households are two people or less. This is compounding the affordability problem.

“We see that some work needs to be done to better integrate social housing into our neighbourhoods and increase the supply.

Cr Grosskreutz said that the taskforce has the support of the state government.

“When we met with the Minister for Community Services and Housing, Karen Struthers recently, she was very encouraging and confirmed that the taskforce is on the right path,” Cr Grosskreutz said.

“Through this process, the taskforce has also developed stronger alliances and partnerships with the University of the Sunshine Coast, development industry and not-for-profit organisations on the Coast, which is important for the future roll-out of the recommendations, should they be adopted by council.”

Further taskforce recommendations include:

  • Finalising an assessment matrix that determines if a proposal is considered an ‘affordable housing solution’ and could therefore be eligible for concessions and support by council.
  • Advocating for university research around best practice affordable housing solutions.
  • Analysing the true cost of housing on the Sunshine Coast to determine where cost savings or reduced service levels could be considered.
  • Using the taskforce’s and council’s expertise to provide housing support to not-for-profit organisations in regards to investing and developing suitable housing.
  • Holding an affordable living expo.
  • Continue advocating all levels of government to raise awareness of key issues.

The recommendations will be put forward for council’s consideration and endorsement at council meetings, starting 19 August 2009.

The next taskforce meeting will be Wednesday, 22 July 2009.