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  • Rikki Lambert

200 Housing Trust home relief the tip of an iceberg in SA regional housing crisis

Regional Development minister Clare Scriven has identified regional housing as a key issue the incoming Malinauskas government needs to address in regional South Australia, acknowledging that a proposed 200 new public homes is a small start to addressing the crisis.

The newly sworn in primary industries, forest industries and regional development minister told Flow on Wednesday that regional housing came up on the Hustings leading up to Labor's March 19 election success:

"Everywhere that I went in regional areas, housing was named in the top two challenges that were facing them and that comes from housing for a seasonal workforce, for things like the agricultural sector, but also for longer-term housing for people who do want to relocate to the regions and we don't necessarily have the housing stocks there."
"That's one that obviously will not be fixed overnight because there's a whole lot of other issues that are impacting that from shortages of building materials through shortages of skills."

Hear the full interview with Clare Scriven MLC on the Flow podcast player:

South Australia's peak welfare body, the Council of Social Services, staged a roundtable meeting recently for their Yorke Peninsula and Northern region, with policy director Dr Catherine Earl noting:

"A lack of housing and, in particular, a lack of affordable housing, is another key issue that was highlighted at the Roundtable. While there are significant building developments happening across the region, much of it is for retirement living, and for holiday homes for private use, so it is not housing that is available for the rental market. Discussion at the Roundtable highlighted the need for collaboration between all levels of government and the NGO sector to open up opportunities to expand public and social housing development in the region.”

Minister Scriven said some work was underway on rent relief via public housing:

"We announced that we would be increasing public housing in regional areas, so that's the first level, so at least 200 new homes will be in regional centres across the state."
"So building both public housing and community housing is a really important first step and I agree of course that's only the tip of the iceberg, but that's where we know that we can start and then that will start to domino through."
"Starting with public housing is the first step and then that's where I think the more complex conversation has to happen after that, because there's a lot of things that impact on the ability to improve the housing stocks and levels of stocks in regional South Australia."

Port Macdonnell resident and minister Scriven flagged that potentially some pressure may need to be brought to bear on banks to vary their lending criteria towards regional opportunities:

"That comes from the sorts of policies that banks apply to regional lending which are quite different to a metropolitan area, through to the development of trades and of course, in some cases the additional cost of building in regional areas."


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