Relieving Pressure on Key Worker Housing

Southern Grampians Shire Council resolved to sell approximately 22 hectares of vacant, Council owned land near Lake Hamilton at Wednesday’s Council meeting.

The land parcel, located on Handbury Boulevard at Lakes Edge is currently held as one title, zoned as General Residential. Southern Grampians Shire Council Mayor Cr David Robertson said the sale will free up the land for new residential builds and will ultimately relieve pressure on the region’s rental market.

“Council identified the negative impact and lack of key worker housing has on the region in the Council Plan and has been advocating over the past 12 months to find solutions to address these shortages,” said Cr Robertson.

“We know this heavily impacts the local economy where local businesses and service providers struggle to maintain adequate staffing levels. The lack of available housing within the region makes it very difficult for our local businesses and organisations to recruit staff to relocate here because there is essentially nowhere for them to live once they make the move.

“There is a large population of employees who commute into the Southern Grampians every day. That ultimately has a cost to local communities who miss out on the domestic investment for those who live outside our Local Government Area.

“This critical shortage of housing restricts the settlement of new residents who contribute to our workforce which is something which Council has not been immune to. The release of this land will go a long way to provide a tangible solution to the lack of housing with residential purchase and rental options for those workers and their families.”

The sale of the land is expected to be released in early 2023 and has the potential to provide between 200 – 300 blocks for new homes to be built.

Locally, most key businesses consulted have experienced long-term labour shortages resulting in ongoing job vacancies equating to 5-10% of capacity. Lack of rental housing was identified as a key contributing factor. With a current demand of 280 additional dwellings needed for the next 10 years in Hamilton, of which around a third are expected to be rentals, the demand for additional rental housing is high.

“We know over the last few years, we have seen a real desire from city residents to find a new way of life within the regions. Southern Grampians offers a unique range of opportunities including high quality education for families, strong agriculture and industries, numerous healthcare services, as well as an enviable lifestyle.

“By releasing this land for the sale of sub divided residential blocks, we are confident that this step will help to ease the burden on the property market both in sales and rentals across the Southern Grampians and open us up to having the opportunity to welcome new residents to the region,” concluded Cr Robertson.

More details will be released in relation to the land sale early in the New Year.

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