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Byron Shire
July 23, 2024

Nothing affordable

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Tweed council catching up on DA backlog

Tweed Shire Council staff say they’re catching up on and reducing the number of outstanding development applications [DAs] lodged locally.

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Ballina Council is in the privileged position of owning 30 lots of subdivided residential land in Wollongbar, out of the floodplain, close to services, ready to build. All we need is a clear vision.

The current resolution is to sell 18 lots at market rate to raise capital to develop the remaining 12 for the purposes of providing medium-density rental housing (all reference to ‘key workers’ was removed in a February 2024 resolution, which I strongly opposed).

Selling off public land to private interests is never ideal, but if it is necessary to make a project stack up financially, I’m willing to do what it takes. What I cannot accept is that we would use the profits to develop ‘build-to-rent’ housing, solely to provide an income stream to Council, so we can keep rates low for those who already own all of the houses.

There is nothing in the Local Government Act that prevents councils from providing housing for their community. In fact, section 8A of the Act says that, ‘Councils should manage lands and other assets so that current and future local community needs can be met in an affordable way’. To say that providing affordable housing is not the job of councils when we are clearly in a position to do so is shirking responsibility.

The incoming Council will have an important decision to make – who will be able to rent this housing and how much will they pay for it? We are staring down the face of a brutal housing crisis. We have the power to do something to make things a little bit better. The question is, are we willing to do it?

Cr Kiri Dicker (Greens), Lennox Head

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