Community & Business

18 January, 2023

Council acts to boost more social housing

WITH the Mareeba Shire predicated to be home to almost 12,500 people aged over 55 by 2041, Mareeba Shire Council has called on the State Government to support an innovative project to increase social housing.

Council acts to boost more social housing - feature photo

Currently, there are 84 properties comprising 80 one-bedroom units for seniors in Mareeba, Kuranda, Mt Molloy, and Dimbulah and four two-bed-room units in Mareeba.

Both the State and council hold equity in the properties.

The housing portfolio also includes 24 long-term community housing units which were fully funded and owned by council.

The 108 community housing properties are constructed on 11 separate parcels of land, including three council-owned free-hold blocks and eight reserve parcels.

All of the properties are currently managed by Mareeba Community Housing Company (MCHC).

Mayor Angela Toppin said the current housing crisis affecting all of Australia was having a clear impact locally and by divesting council’s housing stock to MCHC, the organisation could leverage the equity in the 108 funded and unfunded dwellings to expand housing stock for seniors.

“Council is proposing to work in partnership with the Queensland government and the Mareeba Community Housing Company to facilitate growth in the available properties.”

This proposal involves the State approving council's divestment of 84 funded long-term community housing properties for seniors to MCHC with both council and the Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy transferring its respective equity to MCHC.

It also involves Council transferring ownership of a further 24 units for seniors to MCHC.

“The Mareeba Community Housing Company is already managing council's long-term community housing service, so the divestment would simply mean that council no longer plays an active role in managing that contract,” Mayor Toppin said.

“This is being proposed as it is the most likely way to capitalise on the opportunity to construct additional housing.

“Mareeba's population is growing steadily and steps need to be taken to improve housing availability now and into the future.

“More than 90 per cent of all dwellings in Mareeba are detached houses, and these are just not suitable for lone residents, or couples ageing at home.

“By building more one and two-bedroom homes we can create room in the rental market which has simply not been seen in recent years.”

Council is also seeking approval to build a new two two-bedroom duplex in Mareeba on land already used for social housing.

“This type of housing suits single seniors or couples who need live-in support, so they can live at home for longer,” Mayor Toppin said.

“There is a real need for this type of housing, and we expect that by increasing the availability of social housing for seniors, other renters will then have access to properties which have been previously utilised by our older residents.

“Housing is a fundamental need and, as Mayor, I firmly believe that any steps we take towards alleviating the housing crisis in Mareeba will translate into long-term improvements in community wellbeing and community safety,” she added.


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