RRC Mayor Margaret Strelow.
RRC Mayor Margaret Strelow. Allan Reinikka ROK260619arockyna

Queensland councils keen to follow RRC's lead on development

A ROCKHAMPTON-first new home builders grant initiative has caught the attention of regional councils around the state following strong support from Queensland business leaders.

Mackay business representatives from Queensland Master Builders Association, Mackay Chamber of Commerce, Urban Development Institute of Australia and the Real Estate Institute Queensland are lobbying Mackay Council to adopt a housing construction grant program to promote housing development and bolster the construction industry.

The move follows and cites the example of an identical program recently introduced by Rockhampton Regional Council, which provides residents with a grant to build new houses within the Rockhampton region.

The value of the housing grant would be $5000 and would apply to contracts bought off a builder's plan or a home built on one's own. The number of grants would be limited to 200, with only one grant payable per person, per new home.

UDIA fellow Mark McGrath said it was his understanding Toowoomba and Townsville councils were also looking to follow the Rockhampton housing grant model.

"Mackay should follow it too, so we're not left behind. This would be a great stimulus because our housing numbers are below usual trend numbers," Mr McGrath said.

Mr McGrath said he wanted to encourage councillors to really examine this issue, especially when they re-examined the Facilitating Development Policy.

"If (Mackay) council gives 200 buyers of new homes each a $5000 grant - it would cost council $1 million. On average it costs about $320,000 for a new-home build and that amounts to a $64-million return on a $1-million investment," he said.

Rockhampton region Mayor Margaret Strelow was glad industry and other municipalities saw merit in the RRC initiative.

"Local builders have told us about clients of theirs where the $5000 grant has made the difference between a green and red light for their house, so it's great to hear it's having an impact," she said.


A potential housing grant worth $5000 would apply to new home builds.
A potential housing grant worth $5000 would apply to new home builds. Chad Baker/Jason Reed/Ryan McVay

"That other councils across regional Queensland are looking to implement this policy is both a compliment to our team who have worked on this idea and a clear recognition about the state of regional economies.

"We are happy to make the policy and documents we have developed available to other local governments if they would find that helpful."

QMBA regional manager for Mackay and Whitsunday, Malcolm Hull said he absolutely encouraged the housing grant initiative.

"Anything that will stimulate the building and construction industry in our region we are well and truly all for," Mr Hull said.

MRC development services director Aletta Nugent said council already had a Facilitating Development Policy which provided incentives for targeted forms of development.

"Council will be reviewing this Facilitating Development Policy in the coming months," Ms Nugent said. "As part of that review, council will take into account the scheme introduced by Rockhampton."

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