House of Assembly: Wednesday, April 10, 2024


Regional Housing

Mr BELL (Mount Gambier) (15:01): My question is to the Minister for Housing and Urban Development. Can the minister inform the house of any developments in Mount Gambier to address the housing crisis we are experiencing, along with many other parts of regional South Australia?

The Hon. N.D. CHAMPION (Taylor—Minister for Trade and Investment, Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Minister for Planning) (15:01): The member would know that we have just started pouring allotments—the Office for Regional Housing, which was established as part of Renewal SA. When the government came to office, we were acutely aware that we had inherited a housing crisis not just in metropolitan South Australia or in the city, but in regional South Australia as well. It is a really huge problem right across the state. So one of the things we have done is to establish the Office for Regional Housing within Renewal SA. It would be fair to say that Renewal SA has not had a long history—or indeed its predecessor. The Land Management Corporation had had entirely city-based origins.

Members interjecting:

The Hon. N.D. CHAMPION: I hear members opposite. But Renewal SA, which previously was the Land Management Corporation, was designed, essentially, as an urban Land Management Corporation and, of course, we had a challenge in the regions and so that is why we created the Office for Regional Housing. In all my briefings with those opposite or with the parliament more generally, I think it has been an institution that has been warmly received.

We have been out in the regions. We were up in Port Augusta and we went to the beginning, the turning of the sod of four houses in Port Augusta, and the Premier had a great chat with the builders up there. Those are for police and nurses and I would have thought that would be welcomed by those opposite. We have, I think, just laid the slabs on maybe four allotments at Mount Gambier, and the member, I think, went there and had a look at the site more recently.

Obviously these are reasonably humble beginnings. We want to scale up the Office for Regional Housing, the purpose for us beginning with 30 houses, which has now stretched to 35 thanks to the member for MacKillop's very strong advocacy for this. The councils in his region were amongst the first to talk about the importance of regional housing. We wanted to create a model that could be scaled up and could work for the next decade, and we have set about doing that.

The other thing we have set about doing is working with local councils, following the model, the Bordertown model I think we are calling it in our conversations with other councils, because Bordertown did the right thing. They have put their money where their mouth is. They have bought a site in the centre of town. We have bought five blocks out of an initial 15 allotment release. The importance of our five allotments in that is it gets the project going. It is something of a pre-commitment to get the project going, to de-risk it for the council, and that's a very important thing.

It's a very important thing to work with local government. We have put the call out. We were on a conference call I think last month with the Local Government Association and having very good conversations with them. We want to have partnerships with regional councils. We already do as a government. I know Minister Brock talks to them on a regular basis, both through his ministerial office and just through his travels through regional South Australia. We want to work very seriously with them to boost land supply in regional South Australia. We know that land supply is a critical issue across the country and across the state.