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Housing crisis could lead to shortage of teachers on the Sunshine Coast

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The Sunshine Coast’s title as the most desired transfer location for teachers is under threat, as the region’s housing crisis drives valuable educators to more affordable alternatives.

The Coast has been considered the most desired transfer location for teachers and principals over the past 25 years, according to the Queensland Association of State School Principals.

But QASSP president Pat Murphy said the lack of affordable housing, combined with the cost of living, could knock the Coast off the top spot.

“One of the factors that made the Sunshine Coast desirable was that up until now it was a reasonable place to buy a house,” he said via a press release from the Caloundra Chamber of Commerce.

“There would now be teachers transferring to a different school saying ‘I’d love to go to Sunshine Coast but I’ll go to Caboolture because it’s more affordable’.”

The Sunshine Coast could be knocked off first place when it comes to teaching destinations.

Mr Murphy said the Coast could develop teacher shortages as seen in North Queensland if the region didn’t maintain its popular lifestyle.

“It’s so important that the lifestyle is seen as desirable for teachers to come to the Sunshine Coast,” he said.

Caloundra State High School P&C president Dean Sherwell said attracting talented teachers was paramount.

“We want great teachers to stay and have great experiences from a career and employment point of view, which obviously impacts greatly on our kids,” he said.

Caloundra State High School P&C President Dean Sherwell.

Mr Sherwell said he would be “concerned” if the region developed teacher shortages.

“If it is true that we are unable to attract quality teachers to our region because accommodation is too expensive or not available then that is a real concern for our community’s growth and our kids,” he said.

“We, as the P&C and the school, want to attract the best teachers we can because the school has some fantastic opportunities in the next period of time to really make it a great school.”

The Direct Collective’s Sunshine Coast Property Market Update 2022 stated that the Sunshine Coast’s housing crisis impacted teachers’ ability to secure a home.

“With the massive undersupply and high average incomes, teachers are being outbid on properties by the wealthy Gen X and Baby Boomers, who make up the largest demographic of the population,” Direct Collective’s Head of Research Mal Cayley said.

Mr Cayley said the housing shortage meant the region also struggled to retain Millennials – a “key demographic of teachers”.

Direct Collective’s Head of Research Mal Cayley.

“This is a supply/demand imbalance and we’ve created such an incredible, highly desirable place with long-term opportunity that the demand is highly unlikely to subside,” he said.

Caloundra Chamber of Commerce President Michael Shadforth agreed the solution was to create more housing on the Sunshine Coast.

“The Sunshine Coast is booming with opportunity, we have ample career prospects and a beautiful lifestyle but to capitalise on the region’s exciting growth we must provide all levels of our community with affordable and available housing,” he said.

“We know the Sunshine Coast needs 37,000 dwellings by 2031 to meet our projected population.”

Mr Shadforth said a steady supply of rental and owner-occupied homes, combined with sustainable planning surrounding great public transport and night-time economy, would ensure the Sunshine Coast maintained its attractiveness and developed a strong workforce.

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