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'Worst in history': urgent report seeks solutions to Noosa's housing crisis

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Noosa councillors have ordered an urgent report seeking solutions to the region’s “unheralded” housing crisis, which has been labelled the worst in its history.

The request for a detailed, independent data-driven analysis on potential short, medium and long-term solutions won unanimous support.

“We can’t fix this crisis on our own, it needs a lot more money from State and Federal Governments, but we are facing a housing emergency that is having an impact on the economy, on our businesses and affecting the liveability of our communities,” Mayor Clare Stewart said.

Councillors want to analyse options for community and emergency housing on community land to target the most affected demographics such as hospitality, health and other essential workers.

The report will investigate whether to supplement the ongoing research into this issue ahead of mid-term planning scheme amendments by also engaging an independent consultant to conduct an extensive 360 review of Noosa’s housing situation, collate existing data and conduct further analysis.

“We need to dive deep. This is simply too important an issue not to be well thought out, well researched and solution-focused,” Mayor Stewart said.

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The report will consider whether adopting a Temporary Local Planning Instrument could help facilitate secondary dwelling units in appropriate locations.

It will also investigate Ministerial condition requirements for the Noosa Plan 2020 relating to short-term accommodation.

The mayor said all councillors remained committed to upholding the Noosa Plan 2020.

“It’s important to have the empirical research and conduct further consultation with key stakeholders before making any decisions,” she said.

Cr Stewart said all councillors acknowledged the current housing crisis was the worst in Noosa’s history.

“We need to find a cure, not treat a symptom,” she said.

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“Apart from the already commissioned research being done, this report will provide us with a plan, identify potential solutions and give us the data and possible interim policy responses to address the shortage of housing availability in the short, medium and long term.”

Councillors have asked for the report to include myriad options in the hope it will provide a strategic process and necessary tools to help council make informed future decisions.

Mayor Stewart said increased advocacy was pivotal to tackling the crisis.

“This is a global pandemic issue, this is unheralded, and it needs a committed tri-partisan approach,” she said.

“We need to advocate for more state and federal government investment into social housing and we need to look at what planning opportunities are available to enhance the level of housing availability in the shire.”

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