Housing and Workforce Accommodation Shortages in Carnarvon Addressed in Urbis 100 Houses Report

Published on Wednesday, 12 June 2024 at 3:31:32 PM

Housing and workforce accommodation shortages remain a critical constraint to Carnarvon's social and economic function. In response to this pressing issue, the Shire of Carnarvon, in partnership with the Gascoyne Development Commission, engaged consultants Urbis to conduct a comprehensive enquiry into the best options for developing the next 100 new homes in Carnarvon and to analyse the underlying causes of the housing market failure.

In August 2023, Urbis was tasked with examining various factors contributing to the housing crisis, including:

  • The high cost of land and housing development
  • Relatively low developed property values
  • Lack of critical infrastructure, particularly reticulated sewerage
  • High prevalence of older, dilapidated housing stock
  • Lack of a local construction workforce

Urbis conducted extensive engagement with key stakeholders to inform the problem definition and validate background research. Stakeholders included the Department of Communities, Department of Education, Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, Development WA, Horizon Power, and Water Corporation.

The business case provided by Urbis strongly identifies and quantifies the public benefits of housing development in Carnarvon while highlighting current market failures in meeting existing and future demand.

This report equips the Shire with the necessary data to:

  • Advocate to the State government for infrastructure and policy changes that reduce barriers to housing development.
  • Respond to funding opportunities with rigorously supported and competitive submissions.

The report outlines three key advocacy priorities, focusing on agencies that are instrumental in both the planning and delivery of housing in Carnarvon and their roles in addressing housing market failures. First, the Department of Communities is urged to conduct urgent repairs, maintenance, or redevelopment of vacant public housing dwellings to increase the available housing stock. Meanwhile, the Department of Planning, Lands, and Heritage is called upon to review sewerage policies to permit on-site sewage disposal for larger lots. Additionally, the Water Corporation is encouraged to investigate sewer development to unlock land for development by both the public and private sectors.

Considering the findings, the Council has received the Urbis report and will be writing to the Ministers for Education, Housing and Homelessness, Health, and Water and Environmental Regulation. The Shire will advocate for their departments to address and resolve the issues hindering housing development in Carnarvon.

Shire President Eddie Smith expressed his optimism regarding the report’s findings and the future of housing development in Carnarvon "The Urbis report provides us with a clear pathway to overcome the housing and accommodation shortages that have long constrained our community. By addressing these critical issues, we can foster a more sustainable future for Carnarvon. Together, we can unlock the potential of our town and ensure that Carnarvon thrives for years to come."

The Shire of Carnarvon is committed to addressing the housing shortages and ensuring sustainable development that supports our community's social and economic well-being.

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