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July 23, 2024

Affordable housing key to Ballina Greens, Kiri Dicker’s, mayoral campaign

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Ballina councillor Kiri Dicker is running as the Greens Mayoral candidate in this September’s council election. Photo supplied

Lennox local and sitting councillor Kiri Dicker is running for Mayor of Ballina Shire Council in the upcoming council election on September 14 and is putting affordable housing for key workers as front and centre of her campaign.

‘Every week I am talking to people in my community who are experiencing the impacts of the housing crisis, including having to move away from their social and professional networks to find affordable housing. It’s having a devastating effect on the social fabric of our communities and affecting the sustainability of small businesses, many of whom have told me they are cutting back hours due to difficulties finding staff,’ said Cr Dicker in her press release. 

Cr Dicker was first elected to Council in 2021 representing Ward B, which includes the town of Lennox Head where she grew up and is currently raising her family.

Her mayoral campaign will spearhead an ambitious plan to build hundreds of affordable rental homes for local workers on Council-owned residential land, which she says will boost Ballina’s local economy by supporting small business and ensure local families and young people affected by the housing crisis can continue to call the Ballina Shire home.

Under the plan, Council will construct a range of 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units on Council-owned residential land and rent them to people who are working for a business or organisation located in the Ballina Shire. 

A household is considered to be in ‘housing stress’ if they are paying more than 30 per cent of their income on rent or a mortgage. Therefore, Cr Dicker and her team are looking to fix rent of council owned housing at 25 per cent of tenants’ gross household income, ensuring tenants are not experiencing housing stress.

‘By introducing competition to the private rental market, the Greens expect this initiative will also push down rents for everyone,’ explained Cr Dicker. 

This position is in opposition to the current approach of BSC led by sitting Mayor Sharon Cadwallader when speaking to residential development of council owned land at Wollongbar. 

‘This is not to provide housing that’s going to be subsidised in any way shape, or form,’ Cr Cadwallader told the June BSC meeting. 

‘This will be part of the Council’s portfolio, and part of the income stream.’

However, Cr Dicker says that affordable housing and council income stream from residential housing developments on council owned land are compatible aims.

‘Our plan is a triple win for the community. It will support local workers, including families and young people to secure affordable housing, it will boost our local economy by supporting small businesses, many of whom are struggling to find staff, and it will provide a long-term recurrent income stream for Council,’ she explained.

‘The Greens anticipate that this housing will be in high demand from essential workers such as those working in aged and childcare, teachers, nurses, tradespeople, and hospitality workers. Council may also reserve some of the dwellings to house its own staff, including hard-to-recruit positions such as planners, engineers and field staff.

The Greens anticipate that the project could be initially financed by a zero interest loan under the Housing Australia Future Fund or other loan product, but will eventually become financially sustainable and provide a valuable recurrent income stream for Council.

The plan has been informed by Kiri’s experience working with people who were homeless or at risk of homelessness in Ballina and Glasgow (Scotland) and later with the Federal Government on housing policy under the then Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek. She has also previously owned a business in Lennox Head and is a past President of the Lennox Head Chamber of Commerce, where she gained an understanding of the challenges facing the small business sector.

More information on the Greens housing plan can be found at www.kiridicker.com/housingmanifesto and Kiri and her fellow Greens candidates will be running a series of face-to-face and online events to get the community’s feedback on the plan during the election campaign.


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13 COMMENTS

  1. I am so proud to be running for Council alongside Councillor Kiri Dicker and I think she is going to make an outstanding Mayor who puts community needs and interests before ego and politics! She has a real vision for change. Like the elections in the UK, I think Ballina is due for new leadership! Can’t wait for 14 September – Vote 1 for Kiri Dicker for Mayor! You won’t regret it!

  2. Roads, Rubbish and Potholes that’s the purview of Local Councils – leave the big policy’s to the adults in government

    • It’s a fair comment. But I guess my point is, our Council owns this land, it’s zoned residential, so it’s going to have housing built on it. So it’s really a matter of whether we do it, or we sell it to a developer to do it so they can just build more of the same. Isn’t it better for that profit to be going back into the community rather than a developer’s pockets?

      • Kiri

        The problem I have with this is at this moment in time Ballina does not have enough Tradies to build a back yard dunny let alone a residential development. If we get an influx of skill we are they going to live? But good luck with this one.

  3. The Ballina Council is definitely in need of new management after the debacle the last Cadwallader/Bruem/National Party administration inflicted on Ballina, in the form of forced and unnecessary boundary changes to try and sandbag their positions at this coming election. However Ballina does need an adult team of councillors led by a Labor Mayor by the name of Andrew Broadley who will make the necessary decisions repair the mistakes of the previous National Party Council and to grow Ballina into a better and fairer future.

  4. Anyone but a green mayor please, spare the good people in Ballina shire the potential mess this pretendy protector of fur and feather will inflict upon us.

  5. There are a couple of council meetings before the elections, so who will have the guts to vote for an extension on the pod village at Wollongbar on the 25/07/24, 9am BSC, come on Ballina residents get behind us so we have somewhere to live.

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