20 July, 2023
Local housing plan to be developed for State
MAREEBA Shire Council will develop a Local Housing Action Plan for the Queensland Government as part of its plan to help tackle the housing crisis gripping the State.
While councillors acknowledged the importance of the issue at a recent meeting, they baulked at the thought of having to pay more than $8000 to develop the plan.
But Mayor Angela Toppin said if council didn’t participate in the exercise, the shire could miss out on vital funding.
"...if it's not in the plan, it's likely not to be supported by the State,” she said.
"It's almost a mandatory requirement to have this done so that we do make ourselves very eligible to be supported to make improvements in this space.”
The purpose of the plan is to provide council with a dedicated pathway for implementing specific, localised housing outcomes with the support of specific project resources in the State Government.
“LGAQ has informed council it has received funding to assist councils with the preparation of a LHAP and intends to employ a state-wide Project Manager to assist individual councils,” Mayor Toppin said.
“It is unclear at this stage whether any funds will be made available directly to councils to assist with preparing the plan, such as the purchase of customised housing and demographic data.”
Mayor Toppin said the actual delivery of housing, as identified in the plan, would be the responsibility of the State Government and the private sector with Local Government playing a facilitation role.
“Mareeba Shire Council’s plan will be made available in March 2024 and will be open for community consultation,” she said.
“Council is waiting for feedback from the government if they will compile a consolidated plan and if the full report will be made available.”
At the meeting, Deputy Mayor Cr Kevin Davies felt the State Government should put the plan together.
"It just sits wrong with me that the state is making this mandatory for us - it's something they brought on by not being proactive - it might not come for two years, this money they have put in, which is needed now,” he said.
"And now they are telling us it's mandatory to have an action plan and for us to get this done, and it will cost us $8000.
"Really the State should be putting this together, and we could feed in what we need in this shire."
Council CEO Peter Franks confirmed the council could get some support from the Local Government Association of Queensland which has a dedicated officer.
"They can support us but we will have to do the plan," he said.
"It makes sense to have it from an advocacy point of view but, as Cr Davies says, it's a bit rich that the State Government mandated all councils to have one."
Funding through the State Government to support the preparation of the plans was announced at the 2nd Queensland Housing Roundtable.
The success of the Gympie Regional Council in delivering the first plan in 2022, and the work being undertaken by 22 councils through the Western Queensland Alliance of Councils to prepare plans and the development of local housing plans with First Nations councils and communities, are also reasons behind the support of the government.
Council moved to have the plan prepared for March 2024, it will then open for community consultation.
"I just hope there is some light at the end of the tunnel and that it does make a difference because at the end of the day, we know this (housing affordability) is a major problem,” Mayor Toppin said.
Local Government Association of Queensland CEO Alison Smith said the plans were tailored to meet the needs of council and the community and there was no requirement for the LHAP to address all cohorts, areas, or towns in a local government area.
Local Housing Action Plans are a commitment under the Queensland Housing and Homelessness Action Plan 2021-2025, and aim to identify needs, solutions and help coordinate responses to rural and remote community housing challenges.