Council to host forum to shine spotlight on our housing challenge

Three of Australia’s experts in the field of affordable and social housing are headlining a forum being hosted by Byron Shire Council on Friday 10 May 2019.

Peter Mares (author of No Place Like Home: Repairing Australia’s housing crisis), Tim Riley (Founder – Property Collectives) and Dr Kathleen Flanagan (Deputy Director of Housing and Community Research, University of Tasmania) will address the forum called Our Housing Challenge: local communities, local solutions – a Byron perspective, at the Byron Community Centre in Byron Bay.

Shannon Burt, Director Sustainable Environment and Economy, said housing is one of the key issues for people living in the Byron Shire, particularly when it comes to affordable accommodation.

“Byron Shire is one of Australia’s least affordable areas and residents are paying an increasingly large proportion of their income to put a roof over their head,” Ms Burt said.

The recent release of Anglicare’s Rental Affordability Snapshot found that there is no accommodation at all available for single people or those on government benefits in Byron, or the neighbouring Ballina and Tweed Shires.

Housing and accommodation in the Byron Shire is a significant challenge because of a range of factors including:

  • A demand for, and high investment return on, tourist accommodation including the use of platforms such as Airbnb.
  • The Byron Shire is a desirable place to live with the population forecast to grow by approximately 5,500 by 2036, requiring 3,150 additional dwellings.
  • Compared to the Northern Rivers region the Byron Shire has a higher proportion of low income earners (earning less than $500/week) and a lower proportion earning more than $1,750 a week.
  • There is limited stock of social housing (1.7% of housing stock, or 223 dwellings in the Shire is social housing). There is a 10-year waiting list for social housing in the one-three bedroom range.
  • Compared to the Northern Rivers and NSW generally there are high median house prices, high median rents and high levels of household stress (17.2% rental stress, 8.5% mortgage stress).

“To add another layer of complexity to the situation our economy is growing at a marginally faster rate than regional NSW and the Northern Rivers region and the workforce is relatively young with a majority under the age of 45,” Ms Burt said.

“This means that, because of the high property prices people can’t afford to buy their own home, and given the high cost of rent they can’t even save for a deposit,” she said.

“Byron Shire Council held a Housing Summit in 2017 and a Housing Roundtable in 2018, both of which resulted in some interesting initiatives and I am sure this forum will stimulate ideas and generate valuable discussion,” Ms Burt said.

The forum is a free event however seats are limited. People can register their interest at

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