Our community and local economy is under threat...

House prices and rents have been steadily rising over the past decade, especially in coastal areas. Local families tell us they are having to leave town because they can no longer afford to live here. Small businesses are cutting back hours because they can’t find staff. Council and other industries are struggling to attract and retain essential workers like planners and engineers to our Shire because of the shortage of affordable housing. 

What can we do about it?

We dont just need more houses, we need more affordable houses. The Greens have a plan to build hundreds of genuinely affordable rental homes for local workers on Council-owned residential land that is out of the flood plain and close to services. These homes will be developed by Council and leased through a real estate agent like any other form of rental housing, except that rent will be fixed at 25% of household income, rather than market rate. Not only will this ensure that the homes are affordable, but it will provide competition with the private rental market and push down rents for everyone.

What kind of housing will this be?

If there is one thing our Shire has enough of, its big houses on small blocks of land. We propose that the homes will include a mix of 1,2 and 3 bedroom units not exceeding two stories. They will be modest, but tastefully designed and will include additional sustainability features like solar, water harvesting, shared gardens and EV chargers. By constructing the homes in smaller stages we will ensure that local builders and tradies can tender for construction contracts.

Artists depiction of medium density housing on Council owned land in WollongbarArtist's depiction of Council's Wollongbar Medium Density Housing Project

 

Who will get to live in the houses?

The homes will be available to rent by Australian citizens and permanent residents who:

  • are working at least 28 hours per week for a business or organisation that is located in the Ballina Shire (including people who are self- employed).
  • are not currently on the waiting list for public/social housing provided by the NSW State Government (this is not social or public housing).
  • do not own any land or property.

Priority will be given to people who have connections to the Ballina Shire.

How much will it cost to live here?

Instead of setting the rent at the market rate. We propose a model where tenant’s rent will be fixed at 25% of their gross household income. This ensures that noone will be forced into housing stress (defined as spending more than 30% of your income on housing). The table below shows what different kinds of workers will pay per week. There will be no upper income limit to be eligibile to rent these homes, however high income earners will likely be better off in the private rental market under a rent-fixed-to-income model.

By comparison, the market rate for a 2-bedroom unit at the time of writing was $750 p/w in Lennox Head and $562 p/w in Wollongbar.

Who will live here?

We expect these homes will be popular with a diverse mix of people who are priced out of the private rental market, including nurses, teachers, care workers, retail and hospitality workers and trades. We don't propose that there will be an income limit for prospective tenants, as long as they are working for a business or organisation located in the Ballina Shire.

How will we pay for it?

We will seek up front capital for the project through a combination of grants and loan funds (such as a zero interest loan through the Housing Australia Future Fund). We’ll also progress an Affordable Housing Contribution Scheme to make big developers contribute to the scheme.

Like the sound of this? Let's make it happen!

This proposal is part of the Ballina Greens 2024 Local Government Election Campaign but we cant make it happen unless we get elected on 14th September. Please sign our petition to show your support for our housing manifesto.