SA Regional Houses

The South Australian Local Government Association (LGA) has welcomed the State Government’s work to address the issue of regional housing availability in the state, alongside local councils. 

The State Government is working to improve housing construction in the regions, increase access to rental properties, and make financing for regional housing development more accessible. 

The  government has also assembled an Office for Regional Housing to help bridge the gap between councils’ local knowledge of housing shortages and the commercial knowledge needed to make housing projects viable.

Based on research the LGA commissioned in 2022, some of the key barriers to regional housing development are insufficient access to housing finance, inadequate investor incentives and the absence of economies of scale in many small regional housing markets. 

This became one of the LGA’s key advocacy tasks leading into the 2022 State Election.

Councils throughout South Australia have begun to take major action to improve housing construction including Renmark Paringa Council introducing rate rebates to encourage subdivided land purchases and to reduce developer risk.

The Southern Mallee District Council introduced rate rebates to encourage employer investment in housing.

District Council of Karoonda East Murray significantly subsidised the sale of surplus council-owned land and underwritten building contracts for new resident homebuyers.

Tatiara District Council built accommodation units at Bordertown Caravan Park and partnered with Unity Housing to build affordable rental housing.

South Australian LGA President and District Council of Kimba Mayor, Dean Johnson, said the new commitment was a welcome step and had the potential to unlock billions of dollars in investment opportunities and support regional liveability.

“There’s a significant pipeline of economic activity for our state, and the only way to see this economic growth take off is by State and Local Government taking action and leading from the front,” Mayor Johnson said.

Mayor Johnson said the success of major investments across all sectors – be it energy, health, skills, agriculture or the environment – are hamstrung by housing shortages for workers.

“Many councils are doing what they can to facilitate housing development through rate rebates, providing council-owned land for development, and in smaller townships even under-writing building contracts directly,” Mayor Johnson said.

Mayor Johnson said the expansion of Renewal SA’s role to assist with regional case management and identify priority projects in partnership with councils was a significant step in the right direction.

“The barriers to regional housing investment are not going to be resolved in the next few months,” Mayor Johnson said.

“For example, many River Murray townships have been devastated by the recent flood and unfortunately rebuilding homes along the river will take years and will exacerbate pre-existing trades and material shortages.”

Mayor Johnson said the LGA has commenced discussions with Renewal SA and continues to engage with the Office for Regional Housing so councils have a clear understanding of how to present their knowledge of regional housing shortages and housing project proposals for commercial assessment.

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