Land releases for crippled towns

Isaac Mayor Anne Baker discusses housing allotment plans with Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney in Moranbah.
Isaac Mayor Anne Baker discusses housing allotment plans with Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney in Moranbah.

FAMILIES will have the choice to live in resource communities, following the delivery of 185 housing allotments in two Bowen Basin towns crippled by strangled housing markets.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said the release will see residents struggling to find a home in Blackwater and Moranbah get a reprieve within the next nine months as the State Government takes over control of the ULDA.

Mr Seeney, whose State Development, Infrastructure and Planning portfolio has absorbed the controversial planning authority, said the release of the housing lots was just the beginning in delivering for resource communities.

"We're not interested in building the houses. Our aim is to ensure there is an excess (of land) over demand. Hopefully, this will take the pressure off the housing market, so the rental market will become more normalised," Mr Seeney said.

"What it needs is a commitment from the government to take some action, where the market has clearly failed to keep up with demand."

He said once an excess supply of land was secured and developed, non-mining related businesses would benefit, as the rental market began to fall from astronomical prices.

Isaac Mayor Anne Baker welcomed the release by the State Government, and said it was an exciting time for Moranbah, which as a town has been struggling to find housing and residents increasingly unable to pay the skyrocketing rents.

"It is a bit of a release of pressure on the market and it has injected some positive feeling back into the community," Cr Baker said.

"Speed is obviously of the essence and the council welcomes the assistance of the government.

"We have lobbied the government for a long time for this."

Cr Baker said it was the first step to local government regaining planning and development control from the ULDA.

She said emerging resource communities needed to become involved early in the mine planning process, if growing pains like those of Moranbah were to be avoided. But she conceded towns which were not landlocked may fare better, in terms of housing development.

Mr Seeney said further releases would be made within months.

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