Friday, February 23, 2024

Councils say expansion of loan scheme would boost regional housing

Queensland’s councils have called on the State Government to open up a publicly-funded housing loan scheme to help more people own or build a home in regional and remote communities. 

Councils at this week’s Local Government Association of Queensland’s Annual Conference have heard how regional Queenslanders are suffering from “postcode discrimination”, where private lenders were cutting home loan amounts in half in regional areas and demanding higher deposits. 

Raising the State Government’s Queensland Housing Finance Loan scheme income cap from $141,000 to $201,000 would open up the scheme to more Queenslanders who could afford to pay for a home but were not being supported by private lenders, the state’s councils claim.

Queensland councils are also backing further measures to address the housing crisis, voting unanimously to call on the State and Federal governments to implement the LGAQ’s six-point housing plan. 

LGAQ President and Sunshine Coast Council Mayor, Mark Jamieson said the Association has strongly supported the Premier’s Housing Summit but believe more needed to be done. 

“As the level of government closest to their communities, Queensland councils were the first to raise the alarm about the housing crisis gripping cities, towns and regions across the state,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“We will be taking solutions to the housing summit – immediate, medium- and long-term. 

“Councils have also repeated our call to the Federal Government to host a National Housing summit with all key stakeholder – because housing availability and affordability is impacting across Australia.” 

The LGAQ’s six-point action plan includes:

  1. A National Housing Summit to create a national housing strategy with all levels of government, industry and community groups; 
  2. Quadrupling investment in social housing with an extra $4.8 billion over four years; 
  3. Extending the First Home Owners’ Grant to existing dwellings, renovations and refurbishment; 
  4. Unlocking abandoned, unused and empty properties; 
  5. An extra $100 million a year for five years in Closing the Gap funding for Indigenous communities; and 
  6. $200 million over four years to help councils develop and implement innovative housing partnerships. 

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