Media Release by The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP

$4.5 million to provide affordable housing in Wollongbar

Joint Media Release with:

  • Janelle Saffin MP, Member for Page

A new housing development in Ballina Shire will be ready seven years ahead of schedule thanks to a $4.5 million grant under the Gillard Government’s Building Better Regional Cities program.

Homes in the Wollongbar Urban Expansion Region will also be more affordable as savings which are made possible by the federal funding are passed on to eligible new homebuyers, Minister for Housing and Homelessness Brendan O’Connor said today.

“We know that housing shortages are creating challenges in growing regional communities like the Ballina Shire,” Mr O’Connor said.

“Through Building Better Regional Cities, Ballina Shire Council will receive funding to help reduce the cost of local infrastructure needed for the Wollongbar development, and those savings are passed on to home buyers.

“This will increase the supply of affordable homes for sale and rent and help alleviate housing supply pressures in their communities.”

Ballina Shire Council will use the funding to build sports fields for AFL, rugby, cricket, tennis and netball at Wollongbar, one of the region’s main new housing development areas.

“When complete in 2014, the Wollongbar development will provide up to 800 new homes for approximately 2,500 people,” Member for Page Janelle Saffin said.

“By covering the costs of this important infrastructure, the housing development has been brought forward by at least seven years and the savings will be passed on to eligible new homebuyers.

“This is especially true for the 80 eligible low to middle income purchasers who will benefit from the council’s administered rebate scheme.”

Building Better Regional Cities helps councils and developers with the costs of building infrastructure needed for new developments, such as roads, bridges and sewerage works, as well as parks, community centres, and recreation facilities.

More than $100 million has been committed over three years to support local infrastructure projects which support new housing developments in 16 regional communities across Australia, to help low to moderate income earners living in regional centres to get a start in the property market.

Mr O’Connor said Building Better Regional Cities was part of the Gillard Government’s commitment to address housing affordability.

“We know that the best way to improve housing affordability is to increase housing supply, which is why the Government has invested more than $20 billion in housing and homelessness since coming to office,” he said.

Ms Saffin said that Ballina is experiencing a population boom, and that is forcing up house prices and rents.

“In the Ballina Shire the Australian Government has provided $34.9 million under the Social Housing Initiative to build 116 new homes and an additional $1.1 million for repairs and maintenance to 167 existing Social Housing homes.

“We have also delivered incentives for developers of 82 new homes under the National Rental Affordability Scheme, to provide rental accommodation for low and moderate income earners at least 20 per cent below market rate,” Ms Saffin said.