Modern Houses, Aerial View
Modern Houses, Aerial View

Extent of CQ’s housing crisis exposed

Housing stock across the Central Queensland region has decreased 28.5 per cent in the past decade when compared to the previous decade.

Data from the Queensland Government's statistician's office, which the LNP is using to argue the state is in a housing affordability crisis, shows Rockhampton is down 15.4 per cent from 3638 housing lot registrations between 2001 and 2010 to 3079 in 2011 and 2020.

Livingstone has dropped 50.2 per cent from 3755 housing lot registrations to 1870 over the same period while Gladstone has dipped 23.2 per cent from 5370 to 4125.

In smaller CQ towns, Banana has dropped a staggering 83.0 per cent from 601 to 102, Central Highlands has fallen 22.5 per cent from 1763 to 1366 while Woorabinda has remained stable, due to no data being provided in 2001-2010.

Central Queensland is in the epicentre of a perfect storm in the housing market as soaring rents and a lack of accommodation options threaten our most vulnerable.

Rental vacancy rates remains ultra-low at Gladstone (1.0 per cent), Rockhampton (0.2 per cent), Banana (0.5 per cent), Central Highlands (0.7 per cent) and Livingston (0.4 per cent).

Outside parliament, Opposition leader David Crisafulli said the government did not have answers to what had caused the housing problem when it was raised in Question Time during parliament this week.

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He said his team had been inundated with cries for help from everyday Queenslanders.

"One of them is dealing with a situation where a family of nine are living in a car and these are people who have had long-term rental histories and what we wanted to do was take the fight to the government and show them how serious this problem is," he said.

"I'm not suggesting for one moment that property price growth is not something we all want to see and good sustainable property price growth is fundamental to any market.

"But what we've seen in the past few months and over the course of a longer period is the result of poor planning and poor actions.

 

Residents are reporting rental stress. Photo: Unsplash/Christian Erfurt
Residents are reporting rental stress. Photo: Unsplash/Christian Erfurt

"That's what's led to the massive spikes and what that means is you put pressure on people who are already living here through services that are bursting at the seams and you put pressure on the next generation who are unable to buy a house.

"Despite population growth, the state delivered less lots in the last decade than in the decade before.

"If it's taking too long for a development to get to market, if roads aren't built ahead of the game, if water and sewage is at such exorbitant prices these days that it's not going in, well, the result is less lots.

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"And what that means is a situation where young people can't get into the markets and existing people are struggling to keep up with the infrastructure burden. It's the worst of both worlds."

Mr Crisafulli said there were two things the government could do immediately to effect change.

"(The government) can urgently start getting some social housing stock on the ground, they can find a way to remove the planning backlogs that are stopping stock getting to market but there is no silver bullet, this is generational planning failure," he said.

"But let's not fail another generation, let's get some product on the ground now.

"It's not because of a lack of desire for the private sector to want to put stock on the ground, they've just been at their wit's end because the planning framework is so broken and the state has not had an infrastructure pipeline, they haven't had an affordability plan and that is the result.

"We want to see interstate migration and steady property price growth but at the moment no one on is winning."

When Mr Crisafulli asked whether buying a house was affordable for the average Queenslander during Question Time, Housing Minister Leeanne Enoch said the pressures on the housing market were directly related to the government's "incredible" economic recovery plan post-COVID attracting people to the state.

"I think everybody in this House and across the state understands the unprecedented wave

we are seeing in terms of people wanting to stay and live in Queensland," Minister Enoch said.

"Because of our incredible outcomes with regard to our economic recovery plan, Queensland is the place to be. We are seeing that in pressures with regard to the market.

"What we are seeing and hearing from real estate agents across the state is that there has been an increase in the number of 'sight unseen' purchases from people, particularly from interstate. "We are also seeing the rental market feeling the pressure of that. Recently I was in Rockhampton with the members for Rockhampton and Keppel.

"We heard first-hand from those in the sector that there had been claims of offers of 52 weeks rent in advance from those coming from southern states. We know that there are incredible pressures on the market.

READ MORE: Homes at the Capricorn Coast sell for $950,000+

"During COVID people have stayed still. They have not moved around as much as they have in the past, and that has put unprecedented pressures on the rental market and the market more broadly.

"That is why our investment through our Queensland Housing Strategy worth $1.6 billion is more important than ever.

"The building of more than 5,500 social and affordable homes is more important than ever.

"We started that work three years ago and we are already exceeding our targets in terms of

commencements.

"However, under the LNP - and we have to be very clear about this - we saw a drop-off in commencements, with only about 79 commencements across the state in 2013-14.

"That left this state behind and in order to increase social and affordable housing in the market we had to start building again.

"That is why our Housing Strategy released by the former Minister was so important in

terms of ensuring that we are continuing that work to meet the market.

"There is more work to be done, and the Federal Government needs to step into this space as well.

READ MORE: Taroomball block to be subdivided into residential lots

"It is about to oversee the National Rental Affordability Scheme drop off the cliff in the next few years given that it has decided to move away from that funding.

"There is also underfunding with regard to the national agreements on housing and homelessness. Those things are all having an impact, but the Queensland government continues to be committed to this."

 

Queensland Leader of the opposition David Crisafulli speaks during a press conference regarding housing affordability, at Parliament House. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Queensland Leader of the opposition David Crisafulli speaks during a press conference regarding housing affordability, at Parliament House. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

Outside parliament, Opposition development and planning spokeswoman Fiona Simpson said Victoria could bring housing product to market in about two and a half years but Queensland could take more than 10 years.

"Clearly the system is broken and the human face of that lack of supply, the lack of investment into the market is what we hearing in people's heart-wrenching stories of being unable to get a home."

A Department of Housing spokeswoman said 60 new social homes would be built in Central Queensland by 2020 through the Housing Construction Jobs Program.

"To date, contracts have been awarded for the commencement of 16 new social housing homes in this region, six of which have already been completed," the spokeswoman said.

"A further four new social housing homes are forecast to have contracts awarded by June 2021."



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