Low-cost rental farce: Two years, $70m and nothing to show for it

A two-year, $70 million Government program to provide low-cost rental accommodation in Brisbane is yet to produce a single property, with Treasurer Cameron Dick saying the delay is due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Jun 25, 2020, updated Jun 25, 2020
Rents in Brisbane have jumped.  (pic: ABC)

Rents in Brisbane have jumped. (pic: ABC)

The multimillion-dollar “Build-to-Rent” scheme was revealed by the Queensland Government in December 2018, to partner with the private sector in delivering low-rental homes in high-rental areas, such as inner-Brisbane.

Developers were asked to build properties on privately owned land, with the Government to then subsidise rental payments.

But 18 months later, no homes have been built.

Ipswich woman Carrie Casey said she was desperate to find a clean and affordable rental property, but it was a struggle.

She currently lives with her partner Anthony Pollard in a rental property with another couple — Akasha-Marie Isaac and Nathan Ihle — who have just had a baby.

Their property costs $370 a week.

“Most of our money goes on rent, so we’re not able to save, and we stay home quite a bit,” Casey said.

“If you’re looking at a home of about $300, that’s almost one person’s pay.

“When you take out paying other bills, like water, internet and power, it doesn’t leave a lot — it does make it difficult.”

Delay due to coronavirus pandemic

In a statement, Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick attributed the delay to the coronavirus pandemic, which began impacting the state in January.

“Prior to the impact of COVID-19, the state had progressed to an expression of interest (EOI) phase for the pilot project,” the statement said.

“The EOI stage sought to identify market participants with the capability, capacity and suitable privately-owned site to deliver a large-scale Build-to-Rent development, including a component of affordable rental housing.

“Delivery of the Build-to-Rent pilot project has been delayed due to the effect of COVID-19 on market conditions.”

Casey said she could not afford to live in a home with just her partner.

“We’re probably looking at moving to Rockhampton, but that’s going 10 hours away to get the ideal pricing,” Casey said.

“Sometimes even if you go out further, they’re not even any cheaper.”

More struggling with housing stress

Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) CEO Aimee McVeigh said increasing numbers of Queenslanders were struggling under housing stress, spending more than 30 per cent of their income on rent.

“Before the pandemic and mass job losses across Queensland, there were 5,131 families and households — or 8446 people — on the social housing wait list in the Brisbane City Council region,” McVeigh said.

“According to our Living Affordability in Queensland report, we also know that low-income households in Brisbane, such as those headed by single parents, are experiencing significant housing stress.

“The Government could acknowledge the urgency of the situation by prioritising projects like the Build-to-Rent program.”

– ABC / Exclusive by state political reporter Allyson Horn and Anna Hartley

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InQueensland.
All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy