New taskforce to address rental woes

RENTAL markets in resource towns will be assessed and strategies developed to combat the issue crippling many families struggling to live in communities across the Bowen Basin under a new State Government taskforce.

Community Services and Housing Minister Karen Struthers yesterday announced the Rent Affordability Taskforce for Mining Communities, and confirmed action was "already under way" in towns such as Moranbah and Blackwater.

"The first actions recommended by the taskforce that I have approved include a stop to the sale of government housing and land in these communities... and broaden social housing eligibility to allow greater flexibility in resource towns, particularly where there is limited demand for social housing," Ms Struthers said, but noted the sale of affordable housing would be excluded from the moratorium.

"Over coming months, the taskforce will assess the rental market in resource towns (including level of rent rises and impact of increases), develop strategies to provide more affordable rental, and provide additional support and advocacy to renters."

The taskforce will include the Residential Tenancies Authority, ULDA and government department representatives, and Ms Struthers said the new RentConnect service to be established would "help locals under housing stress to find affordable rental properties".

Blackwater and Moranbah, she said, were among the Bowen Basin towns to benefit from an additional $140,000 funding boost for outreach Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Service.

"RentConnect officers will be in contact with local real estate agents and will be aware of what rental properties are available and at what price," she said.

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