Council offers own land to alleviate housing crisis
Published 04 October 2023
City of Moreton Bay’s commitment to offer Council owned land to community housing and specialist homelessness providers reached a significant milestone today.
Parcels of Council land, one in Morayfield and another two in Caboolture, have been identified for potential activation as social, affordable and/or crisis housing.
The vacant land at 33 Oakey Flat Road, Morayfield and 72 and 74 Cox Street, Caboolture will be subject to planning scheme requirements with an expression of interest due to be released before the end of the year.
Mayor Peter Flannery said this initial land offering will deliver a peppercorn lease, under a 50-year exclusive use arrangement, to registered not-for-profit community housing providers or specialist homelessness services to develop the sites.
“It’s the first time we’ve done anything like this, and while providing social, affordable, and crisis housing may not be within Council’s usual remit, we are the ones being left to deal with the resulting regulatory issues and at times public safety and amenity concerns.
“The situation is dire, and the stark reality of homelessness these days is it could be anyone from parents with young children, grandmothers or even professionals.
“I’ve seen it with my own eyes as I’ve travelled around the city and it often takes just one little thing to push people out of a home and on to the streets, so it really is something that could happen to any of us, our families, or friends.
“That’s why in July, we announced that we would audit our current land holdings to determine if there were any locations that could work for the purpose of community housing.
“Changing City of Moreton Bay’s Community Leasing Policy means we can lease council-owned land, that is not needed right now, for the purpose of community housing that can put a roof over the heads of locals doing it tough.
“We’re hoping this opportunity will see specialist providers interested enough to work with us to develop, maintain and manage these sites for the specific purpose of crisis, social or affordable housing.
“I’m proud of our Council, who have taken a daring step and are thinking outside the box to make a tangible difference to residents, but we’ll just need to wait and see if there are any organisations out there that would be interested in being part of this initiative.
“Statistically speaking Moreton Bay faces an unprecedented acceleration in homelessness compared to our neighbours and I’ve seen it myself since I have lived here.
“Our commitment to lease unused Council land, is alongside other landmark initiatives including our announcement in August 2022 to waive development fees and infrastructure charges in fifteen suburbs for affordable and social housing.”
Cr Adam Hain (Div 3) said the social housing system had not kept pace with the pressure that’s being put on it, and that pressure was increasing locally.
“I’ve seen the awful impact homelessness has had on residents in my area and it is something that, as community leaders, we should all be working on together to make a difference.
“City of Moreton Bay hopes that providers and current residents will get behind our bold and proactive plan to alleviate the issue of homelessness in our area.”
Local volunteer group and homelessness support provider, Caboolture Community Action applauded Council’s commitment in this space.
“Recently, we have seen a substantial increase in the need for more support services including food relief, housing assistance and referrals,” President Sharin Geeves said.
“Any extra initiatives that help residents in need are very welcome and I hope that community and housing providers get behind this opportunity.”