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South Burnett Housing Crisis Requires a Coordinated Community Response

12th May 2022

Media Release

12 May 2022

In the face of a national housing crisis, key agencies in the South Burnett including South Burnett CTC, South Burnett Regional Council, Q Shelter, Regional Housing Limited and Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry are seeking community input to find workable solutions for our region.

The Qld Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy has reported that 189 persons accessed support to find accommodation in the South Burnett in 2021. Many of these people had only ever accessed private housing which is no longer an option for them due to the increase in cost of rent, decreasing number of rentals available on the market, or repeated unsuccessful applications through private owners and agents.

“The real number of people experiencing housing accessibility issues is much higher”, said South Burnett CTC CEO Nina Temperton.

“Many people are still unaware of where to access specialised support and are therefore not recorded in government statistics; they are falling through the gaps.

“Homelessness isn’t always visible and modern homelessness can happen to anyone, often involving families sleeping in cars, on a friend’s couch or camping in a tent.”

Renters in the South Burnett are facing record low vacancy rates of 0.2% compared to a healthy vacancy rate which is between 2.6 – 3.5%, meaning many households are unable to locate suitable accommodation.

“This is a complex issue with many flow-on effects in our community and requires a coordinated response”, said Cr Kirstie Schumacher of South Burnett Regional Council.

“No single organisation, government agency, business or person can solve this crisis. We need a holistic response that requires all levels of government, support agencies, community and importantly private enterprise.”

The forum aims to explore the many facets influencing the current housing crisis and consider community and stakeholder input to inform the creation of a local South Burnett Housing Action Plan.

The Plan will outline both short term solutions to assist those in most immediate need, as well as longer term initiatives designed to encourage the creation of a variety of additional housing outcomes well into the future.

Q Shelter executive director Fiona Caniglia commended the group on taking the initiative to bring the forum together.

“The availability and affordability of housing really is a national emergency.  The forum in South Burnett is perfectly timed, and if it can work towards a clear action plan as an outcome, we can all work together to present that to the three levels of government" she said.

The first South Burnett Housing and Homelessness Forum will be a facilitated session allowing people to contribute in a range of ways so that we hear all voices.  We will be asking attendees to share what they are seeing in their community and share their ideas to solve some of these issues.

It will be held on Friday 22 July at the Kingaroy Town Hall, commencing at 9am. People interested in attending and working together to support those in need in our community can register by contacting:

Matthew Kenny – South Burnett CTC Inc

P: 4162 9000 E: admin@sbctc.com.au

Housing is a primary need for every person, family and child and is the basis for sustaining things such as employment, relationships, support networks, mental health and communities. The lack of access to affordable and sustainable housing affects employers gaining and retaining skilled workers and the ongoing growth and development of infrastructure and services in the South Burnett, increases pressure on health and community services, and correlates with increase in crime.

Join us in creating a local response for our region and community.

ENDS