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Council Signals Move To Cut Costs

By Dan Sowden

The Sunshine Coast council has signalled it will move towards more units and townhouses to combat the housing affordability crisis gripping the region.

The council has set 2031 as its target of having a third of homes which cost no more than 35% of a low income household’s earnings. The council moved yesterday towards adoption of its Affordable Living Strategy, which would increase the number of semi-detached houses from current levels of about 10% to 26%. Attached housing would also rise from 12% of the mix to 20%, with social housing at 4.9% of all stock.

The strategy will feed into the compilation of the Sunshine Coast’s first regional town plan, which is now under way. An Affordable Living Taskforce, led by councillor Anna Grosskreutz and including a large representation from the development industry, government and community representatives and social housing providers, has met over the past 13 months to devise the approach.

The Coast has been identified as having significant housing affordability challenges, experiencing the highest level of housing stress in the state. Housing costs here are considered high in relation to income, a profile created by the combination of growth pressures, property speculation and a shallow economic base.

The strategy documents describe the strategy as “innovative” and supporting council’s vision of sustainability and affordability. It aims to create a “more compact urban form that promotes liveability, sustainability and affordability”.

It claims inaction on the issue would lead to the creation of geographic areas of disadvantage, a decrease in community cohesion, higher degrees of personal stress and family breakdown, constrained economic growth, and a failure to meet the region’s sustainability aspirations.

The council’s policy direction is based on strengthening growth around existing self-contained centres, services and facilities and providing a balance between Greenfield development and urban consolidation around major towns.

Source: The Sunshine Coast Daily | Bill Hoffman

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