17.5 C
Byron Shire
June 21, 2021

Housing ‘not affordable, doesn’t fit’

Latest News

Travel declaration required for travellers entering Queensland

Queensland Health says that all travellers from a state or territory with a declared COVID-19 hotspot (currently Victoria and from 1am Saturday, June 19 also New South Wales) are required to complete a Queensland Border Declaration Pass prior to entry.

Other News

New case of COVID-19 in Brisbane

Queensland has recorded one new case of COVID-19 in the community yesterday, with contact tracing underway after an international cabin crew member tested positive.

Pro rail groups join to rally on Thursday

Four local groups have banded together and will host a rally calling for urgent consultation on the removal of the train tracks on the Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek rail corridor.

Backsliders coming to Lennox

Australian music legends the Backsliders are coming to Lennox Head for the first time, to play at the Lennox Head Cultural Centre on Saturday 26 June 2021.

Cyclists please

Denise Nagorcka, Byron Bay I am a driver, cyclist, pedestrian: so cyclists for your safety, could you please: 1. Make yourselves visible...

Yes! Chupacabra fiesta

S Haslam Chupacabra are coming up to their third birthday, and to celebrate all the ups and downs they are...

Byron master surfers score at NSW championships

Byron’s Neil Cameron finished in the runner-up position in the over-65 division of the 2021 NSW Surfmasters Titles held at North Boomerang beach on the Barrington Coast last week.

Dominic Feain

A new report which shows many northern rivers residents are struggling to afford accommodation comes hot on the heels of a federal government injection of  $5 million to a Ballina housing project to help home buyers.

And a north coast welfare group says the housing in the area just doesn’t fit the population’s needs, with 75 per cent of housing stock being three-bedroom houses but an increasing population of one- and two-person households.

The 2013 Anglicare Rental Affordability Snapshot Report, released yesterday, shows that only a fraction of available housing between Port Macquarie and Tweed Heads is affordable for people on low incomes.

Last Friday, Page MP Janelle Saffin and federal housing minister Mark Butler announced the $5 million funding to allow Ballina Shire Council to give buyers a $25,000 rebate on 120 blocks of land at Ballina Heights Estate.

Ms Saffin said the money would help reduce infrastructure costs on the estate, such as stormwater drainage and street lighting, and give low income earners access to more affordable housing.

But a spokesperson for Mr Butler admitted the improved ‘affordability’ of Ballina Heights Estate would not be ongoing as the grant simply provided a one-off windfall for buyers who would capitalise on the rebate when they sold up.

‘I guess that’s the challenge with affordable housing,’ he said.

‘You could make the same arguments about the First Home Owners Grant and pretty much any financial incentives to increase supply of affordable housing.

‘From our point of view, pretty much all of the drivers (regulation, control and ownership) around housing are with either state governments or local governments, so what the federal government has done is to use the limited levers that we do have to try to incentivise the supply of affordable housing both in a rental and a ownership context, so this is one of those levers we can use to target regional areas where housing supply is an issue.’

Anglicare North Coast spokesperson Estelle Graham told ABC North Coast that those worst affected in the struggling to afford accommodation were singles or people on low incomes.

Ms Graham said the regional snapshot looked at the number of properties that were available in the Tweed Heads to Port Macquarie area ‘and then we put them into categories of what were considered to be appropriate and affordable for people on both government benefits and minimum wages.

Not pretty

‘The picture is not at all pretty. On the weekend that we looked there were about 912 properties available for rent,’ she told the ABC.

‘A very small number of those were actually considered to be affordable for people on low incomes.’

The Northern Rivers Social Development Council (NRSDC) agreed, saying local problems with affordable housing were not just confined to supply and demand.

NRSDC spokesperson Trish Evans told the ABC design was also a factor.

‘Apart from the fact that we have an inadequate supply of housing, the housing that we have doesn’t fit our population, our population is increasingly one and two-person households, but three quarters of our housing stock is three-bedroom houses,’ Ms Evans said.

Ms Saffin said she gave strong support to Ballina Shire Council’s submission for the funding under the Building Better Regional Cities program ‘given the community need for affordable housing and the Council’s great work and planning’.

Ballina mayor, David Wright, said he was pleased with the announcement having already received $4.5 million to build the sporting grounds at the Wollongbar Urban Expansion Area.

‘We originally applied to the minister to do the sporting fields and instead of delivering that over five years it has now been built and we’ve got 96 blocks there being sold at the moment, about 15 to 20 have been sold in the last two months,’ he said.

‘So basically we now get $5 million, we build the infrastructure (at Ballina Heights Estate) and over time we’ll pay back $3 million so we’re $2m better off, plus the community’s got infrastructure up front, and it costs us nothing in interest, so it’s a win-win situation.’

Cr Wright said the scheme had strict criteria to prevent developers or investors benefiting from the rebates.

‘There is a very particular criteria that has been developed by the council and the federal government to stop people ripping off the system; so you can’t buy a speccy (investment property) for example,’ he said.

‘The rebate is the equivalent of Section 94 and Section 64 money that council would normally collect off the block – so developers are not getting any extra, except more sales I hope.’


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. This rebate has nothing to do with affordable housing
    it is a win for the developer only
    The homes built will be 3 or 4 bedroom for owner occupiers
    There is no incentive to invest in small 1 and 2 bedroom buildings anywhere, given that the return on investment is predicated by a notion of capital gain (currently not happening) and on maximizing the value of the house land package for resale to maximise borrowings.
    SEPP No1 (affordable housing) is a step in the right direction (2nd dwelling on any block up up 60m2 with no council contributions payable)but it is up to local councils to adopt policy to allow this to happen and as yet Ballina Council has not done so.
    Affordable housing in any meaningful volume will require partnerships with private and govt participation
    1 State Govt make Crown land available at minimal cost
    2 council waive Most of its contributions (whole other issue here)
    3 private sector to invest in construction of 1 and 2 and 3 bedroom integrated communities (NOT slums) with some homes for sale and some for long term rental
    Enviro solar design principles
    Sales to offset costs (some profit and to establish values for overall long term-funding which is always based on Valuation
    costs low so that long term rentals can meet that funding and guarantee affordable rents for the long term
    Conversion agreements for renters to have option for purchase at some future date (huge incentive for engagement of community)
    In short it isn’t happening but it could if…………


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

‘Technically no longer human’ – can mRNA COVID-19 vaccines meld with your DNA?

It’s becoming increasingly common to see social media posts claiming that the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, which include those made by Pfizer and Moderna, could alter a person’s DNA.

Lantern parade and fiery finish a blast

With just under 5,000 people including performers, workers, schools and volunteers, the 2021 Lismore Lantern Parade and accompanying festival was a sold-out event celebrating light.

Art headed for the bin after Lismore competition

Making rubbish look great is the outcome of a resent art competition in Lismore – Indigenous art, koalas, rainbows, bats and lorikeets all feature in artwork that will soon be printed onto new bins in Carrington Street.

Locals to fight back with a series about the REAL Byron Bay

News that Netflix was planning to film a vacuous docudrama in Byron Bay brought a collective snort of derision across the Shire.