Mount Isa City Council has told a federal inquiry into housing there should be more funding for community building and housing renewal and governments should play a greater role in installing infrastructure in greenfield developments.
The matter came up in the Wednesday ordinary meeting of Council where councillors had to approve a submission to the Federal Government Inquiry into housing affordability and supply in Australia.
The inquiry is looking into the impact of taxes, charges and regulatory settings on housing supply, identifying factors that promote or housing supply and examining the effectiveness of initiatives to improve housing supply.
Council told the Inquiry Mount Isa had a mining industry boom-and-bust cycle in housing with the market currently very strong especially in rentals.
"In some cases people coming to Mount Isa for work have left their job due to a lack of rental options. Many new people to town request a FIFO option from employers because of unsuitable housing options," Council said.
Council had five recommendations to the Inquiry.
Firstly it said there should be more funds identified to assist with community building and housing renewal used to invest in the public realm and infrastructure, acting as a stimulus to leverage action from local property owners to improve the quality of existing housing. These funds could be used to improve the streetscape, upgrade passive and active recreation areas, as well as contributing to community rebuilding through local leadership programs, Council said.
Secondly, Council said there was a role for the Federal Government in the installation of trunk infrastructure in greenfield developments.
"Many local government authorities own substantial tracts of zoned residential land or land that has the potential to be rezoned for residential purposes. In Mount Isa's case, Council owns small parcels of land around the municipality, as well as one substantial holding that has the opportunity to develop over 500 lots," Council said.
Council said Federal Government should partner with councils to develop these greenfield sites by funding trunk infrastructure such as arterial roads, energy, water and sewer, and fibre.
Other proposals included a binding commitment from State and Federal Government to how many houses each level of government would be prepared to lease and over what timeframe, including community and affordable housing in greenfield developments.
"The biggest influence stopping larger scale developments has been suitable land availability and secure tenure, the Mount Isa City Council has the land parcel that meets all requirements," the submission read.
"Without residential development of this scale Mount Isa will continue to be plagued by accommodation problems for the foreseeable future, the market for industries which dominate employment in the region have never been stronger and the outlook for the mining and agricultural sectors are predicted to stay at current levels or above for the next decade which is unprecedented."
Cr Danielle Slade said housing was top of the agenda for the western councils alliance.
"We are all struggling and getting the message out to state and federal government," Cr Slade said.
"The state government has committed to an extra 100 houses in the west in four years but there is still a long way to go."
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