Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Moyne ratepayers asked to “lease to a local” amid housing crisis

Moyne Shire Mayor, Ian Smith says he will write to non-resident ratepayers asking them to consider making their property available for a long term lease in a bid to ease housing pressures in the shire.

Mayor Smith said with a rental vacancy rate below 1% across the region there was a critical need for more housing to be made available.

“Of course it’s up to home owners what they do with their private property – Council certainly isn’t about to start telling people what to do, but we hope this might spark a thought and start a conversation,” he said.

“We know there are a large number of properties that sit vacant for much of the year – if we can get some of those into the long-term rental property market through this letter and subsequent social media campaign, then that’s a win for everyone.

“People’s situations may have changed and they may not be getting to their second property as much as they once were.

“If this can make them think about the situation and then make their property available for a long term tenant, then we have achieved what we set out to do.”

The Mayor said the shortage of rental properties was having wide ranging impacts across Moyne – from people facing homelessness to businesses not being able to attract workers.

He said while providing housing wasn’t a primary responsibility of Council, there were measures it could employ to assist.

“One of those is the cabins we have installed at Mortlake and Koroit Caravan Parks. The Koroit Cabins in particular are being completed with a State Government funding to provide short-term accommodation for workers in key industries,” Mayor Smith said.

“They will come online in September and we have had a solid level of interest from business keen to make use of them for workers. That’s coming from key industries like agriculture, food processing and construction.

“The cabins in Mortlake are also booked solidly for the next few months with workers and that obviously has flow on benefits for the town, with workers then having a meal, doing the groceries or filling up with fuel.”

He said Moyne was also the lead on a regional project looking at what is needed to address market failures.

“That’s being done across seven council’s and again is State Government funded.”

“What that piece of work is doing is looking at locations and looking at what is required to
address that market failures. That could be subsidies for developers or providing Council owned land to minimise upfront costs.”

Mayor Smith said while these were longer term solutions looking at worker housing, Council was also keen to do whatever it could to bring more long term accommodation into the market.

“We are keen to assist in any way we can and housing and labour shortages and the impacts they are having on our region also form a key part of our advocacy to Government,” he said.

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