15/04/2009 - 22:00

Land release for Karratha

15/04/2009 - 22:00

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THE state government has released the fourth instalment in a series of housing initiatives to address acute housing shortages in the Pilbara.

THE state government has released the fourth instalment in a series of housing initiatives to address acute housing shortages in the Pilbara.

This week, Minister for Lands Brendon Grylls announced Landcorp would administer a 100-unit village to cater for service workers and their families in Karratha.

The scheme is the second Karratha land release in just more than a month, with 52 lots in the Baynton West subdivision being released in March.

Blocks have been released in Newman and Port Hedland over the past year to alleviate expensive rental conditions and accommodation shortages.

"Our initiatives are quality developments designed to encourage permanent settlement and ensure the community grows in a self-sustaining way," Mr Grylls said.

"The precinct will be designed to fit in with existing community. It's not a workers camp, but rather will provide one-, two- and three-bedroom homes where people can live with their families on a longer term basis."

Shire of Roebourne president Brad Snell said the initiative was vital for future growth in the Pilbara.

"There's a critical shortage for small business in the community to secure workers who can afford to pay rent," Mr Snell said.

"The rates for rentals in Karratha and surrounding towns are still very, very high, and not everyone who lives here is earning astronomical wages.

"There's lots of people who are working for non-government organisations, small business, the shire for example, that don't get housing with their employment."

The scheme is the latest in a number of initiatives from both the government and industry to address the lack of workers' housing in regional areas.

"Over the past two years there have been over 550 building plans approved by the shire," Mr Snell said.

"It looks like there's still unmet demand for residential housing here, even though the iron ore industry is a little bit quiet."

Affordable housing in Karratha has developed into somewhat of an oxymoron, after it was revealed that it was cheaper to buy a house than rent one in Baynton West.

Monthly average rents in the new subdivision were an astonishing $8,000, almost $3,700 more per month than an average home loan.

Mr Snell said while addressing the housing issue was critical for the region, the government needed to provide more enticements to lure workers to the north.

"What I'd like to see is a good look at the zone tax allowance from a commonwealth government perspective," he said.

"It's not an incentive at all, it's a pittance in terms of your tax to live in this part of the world."

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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