Journalist: Judith Aisthorpe.
DEMAND for urban public housing has skyrocketed in the Territory – jumping 22 per cent in two financial years.
The demand comes as the NT government, in its Housing Strategy 2020-25, forecasts a shortfall of between 8000 and 12,000 homes in the next five years.
NT Shelter executive officer Peter McMillan said it was concerning the NT was not keeping up with demand for affordable public housing.
“Activity is expected to ramp up over the coming years with new housing builds in remote communities to address severe overcrowding but there isn’t a plan to address unmet demand for housing in our cities and regional centres, especially at the affordable end of the market,” Mr McMillan said. “We can’t afford to see housing emerge as a laggard for economic growth and an impediment to our regions attracting key workers and new industries.
“We need to roll up the sleeves and get started on a housing masterplan for our regions immediately.”
In the 2017/2018 financial year there were 3873 applications for public housing and according to the 2019/2020 annual report there were 4773 – a jump of 900 applications.
On average a person looking for a one-bedroom home in Darwin has to wait six to eight years and two to four years for a two-bedroom or three-bedroom home. The shortest wait time was in Palmerston with a less than two-year wait for a two or three-bedroom house.
The Department of Local Government, Housing and Community Development’s annual report also found “in 2019-20, urban housing stock decreased compared to the last financial year, largely due to the disposal of 75 dwellings during the demolition of John Stokes Square in Nightcliff”.
The report found remote housing stock increased due to the government’s $1.1bn budget to build new housing in remote communities over a ten year period.
A Territory Families, Housing and Communities spokesman said the department was working towards ways to improve the public housing system including a community housing forum held yesterday with industry bodies.
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