While the labour and skills shortage continue to be the industry’s number one focus, urgent action is now needed on regional housing if the industry as a whole has any chance of overcoming the huge shortage of workers across the nation.
Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) CEO and acting CEO of the Accommodation Association (AA), Michael Johnson said the major problem in the regions is that there is just not enough long-term rental accommodation for housing employees.
“Councils need to be more innovative with their land and our planning departments more flexible and agile to address the housing crisis,” Mr Johnson said.
“We simply cannot attract the workers we need if they have nowhere to live.”
Mr Johnson spoke after attending the Regional Development Australia (NSW & ACT) Housing Supply Workshop at the Kimpton Margot Sydney hotel yesterday.
Opened by the Hon. Kristy McBain MP, the workshop’s main focus was to address the current shortfalls in availability and affordability of housing throughout our regions.
Describing the event as a great opportunity to participate in the workshop and explain how much the current housing situation effects the sector, Mr Johnson said the workshop heard some innovative ideas being used across the country and urged other councils to follow suit.
“There are 13.5 million empty bedrooms in Australia every night, and Regional Development Australia Mid North Coast is promoting to the community to bring in a flatmate as an immediate solution,” he said.
RDAMNC CEO, Kerry Grace said her organisation has an important advocacy role in the region and is looking to maintain its focus on housing going forward.
said affordable housing for essential workers continues this year .
Housing affordability, she said, continues to be one of the organisation’s key focus areas and an acute issue across the Mid-North Coast with the price of rentals and mortgages soaring out of the reach of many people who live and work in the region.
“These people are being pushed out of the rental and home ownership markets with dire consequences for business and service delivery across the region,” Ms Grace said.
Mr Johnson said Brisbane City, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast councils are embracing the idea of converting individual three and four bedroom houses into multiple dwellings.
“There are so many three and four bedroom homes with only two occupants across the country and this type of re-development works for owners, investors and immediately puts more long term rental stock on the market.”
Mike Parker-Brown is a UK-trained and qualified journalist and an award-winning travel communicator with more than 30 years experience.
Since 2002, Mike has worked as a freelance writer and PR consultant providing his services to major organisations in Australia and internationally in the tourism, aviation, hospitality, recruitment and export marketing sectors.