Region’s big boost for social housing

Published 5:00am 5 June 2023

Region’s big boost for social housing
Words by Jodie Powell

Encircle Community Services CEO Chris Stains has applauded a new Moreton Bay Regional Council policy that waives all development fees and infrastructure charges to encourage the private sector to build affordable social housing.

He says the Attraction of Affordable Social Housing Policy will make a difference for people in the region struggling to pay for a roof over their heads.

“Linking private sector investment and development know-how to co-operation with community housing providers’ operational experience is a smart move for the partners involved and the people of Moreton Bay,” Chris says.

“Community housing providers and not-for-profit organisations like Encircle are used to working in partnership and we’re good at it.”

Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Peter Flannery says with Australia facing a housing crisis – and around 1200 people considered homeless in the region – Council is pulling out all the stops to help.

Target areas for the Attraction of Affordable Social Housing Policy include Caboolture, Morayfield, Redcliffe, Deception Bay, Burpengary, Lawnton, Strathpine, Albany Creek and Arana Hills.

Cutting red tape

“We want the developers…to know Moreton Bay has a swag of incentives for them and we want them to know this region is ready to do business now,” Mayor Flannery says.

“We’ve already slashed the usual red tape and we’re willing to sweeten the deal further by saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars on construction.

“Moreton Bay’s affordability is one of its most attractive qualities, which means we need to prioritise investment in affordable housing as our population booms.

“There are no hidden costs. The facility will just need to be managed by a community housing provider, but the building can remain privately owned by the developer.”

Welcome collaboration

Bric Housing chief executive officer Jane West, pictured above with Bric tenant services officer Teresa Bargo, says Council waiving $220,000 in infrastructure charges and development application fees made a big difference to the organisation, which is building an 18-unit social housing complex in Redcliffe.

Expected to open in October, the complex is being built by Bric in partnership with, and funded by the State Government and will deliver long-term homes for people in housing need who cannot afford the private market. This includes the fastest growing group at risk of homelessness – older women.

“Obviously construction is not cheap and those marginal costs make a huge difference,” Jane says.

“We’re a charity – all we do is social and affordable housing – and every dollar we save goes back into our projects.

“We very much welcome the collaboration and support from all the government agencies involved, and the benefit that this provides to the Redcliffe community.

“It really is a pleasure to be working with a Council that’s been so proactive about doing what they can within their powers to respond to this very urgent need.”

Urban Development Institute of Australia Queensland Moreton Bay president Keith Cairns says there is a “critical need for all forms of additional housing in the region”.

“This incentive means there will be more of an appetite for developers to invest in housing that keeps the most vulnerable members of our community in homes they can afford,” he says.

“Moreton Bay’s proactive policy is a great example of how all levels of government can step up to address the nation’s housing crisis.”

Moreton Bay Regional Council has:

  • No cap on remissions of infrastructure and application charges on the Affordable Social Housing portion for developments in the identified Priority Affordable Social Housing Areas
  • No restrictions on who can apply (subject to policy requirements)
  • Can be mixed-use developments or other residential housing which is not required to be Affordable Social Housing (remission would only apply to Affordable Social Housing aspect)

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