KEY workers and lower income earners will be given first dibs on new houses through a State Government initiative aimed at tackling the affordable housing crisis in Blackwater.
Those with combined household incomes between $60,000 and $105,000 will be able to go into a ballot to purchase house and land packages via the Urban Land Development Authority's My Place program.
ULDA chief executive Paul Eagles said the first My Place packages offered in Blackwater would be five of 12 units set aside in the Aurora Close townhouse project due to start construction soon.
"This program specifically targets those earning less than $105,000 and gives them priority when it comes to purchasing
housing in town," Mr Eagles said.
"Those interested will have to prove to us that they have a combined income of less than $105,000 per year.
"To meet the criteria houses must cost between $250,000 and $360,000… another important aspect is that they need to be owner-occupiers."
On Monday the Department for Community Services and Housing removed a Blackwater property, 6 Sandalwood St, from the market after the Central Queensland News questioned why the government would be selling assets that could be used to house low income families.
The move resembled last week's backflip by the Department of Education and Training in cancelling the auction of 11 government-owned Emerald properties following a barrage of criticism from local community leaders.
"This property is to be withdrawn from the market, and the Department of Communities is making arrangements for it to continue to be available for rent for low income families," Minister for Community Services and Housing Karen Struthers said.
No reason was provided for the government's second last-minute withdrawal in the space of a week. Key workers and low income earners in Blackwater were being locked out of a market typified by scarce opportunity and rising prices, which Mr Eagles said was one of the main reasons the ULDA was operating in town.
The My Place program was first trialled earlier this year in Gladstone. Mr Eagles said it has since been fine tuned and will now be rolled out in phases through Blackwater.
"After this first release (Aurora Close), the next group will be made available next year in the Bauman Way development," Mr Eagles said.
"At each phase we will release a small amount of affordable My Place housing."
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.