Aerial photo of Byron Bay. Photo David Nielsen / The Northern Star
Aerial photo of Byron Bay. Photo David Nielsen / The Northern Star

Why one word is mentioned 131 times in council’s agenda

Housing: everyone needs it but in the Byron Shire, it's as unattainable as ever.

And it's mentioned a whopping 131 times in the council's agenda for this week's planning meeting.

Senior planning staff at Byron Shire Council have highlighted the dire situation in a report that will go before councillors this week.

"There is an urgent need for a policy circuit-breaker to enable the supply of low to high-end rental and ownership accommodation opportunities outside the current inflated free market for displaced local community and key workers in regional areas like Byron Shire," they said in one report.

The council will this week consider its response to an issues paper on key workers and housing stress, as well as the organisation's own role in addressing the issue.

 

An aerial view of the exclusive Wategos beach in Byron Bay in New South Wales, Australia
An aerial view of the exclusive Wategos beach in Byron Bay in New South Wales, Australia

In one report, the council's staff said the cost of housing and a "holiday let housing deficit" were among the major issues for the shire's key workers.

It's not just a problem for workers; businesses are at risk in a market where "high property prices and rental rates as prohibitive for many staff", they said.

"Our businesses inject economic benefits into the area by employing residents and providing broader economic spin-offs.

 

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"If this is to be maintained, we need to plan for localised affordable key worker housing."

Recent CoreLogic data listed Byron Bay as having the second highest median house price in the regional NSW in January, while Suffolk Park, Bangalow and Casuarina were also in the top 10.

"The bottom line is that, although council is poised to deliver shovel-ready solutions, it is unable to do so easily or easily due to the state planning framework and the constraints in which local government operates in terms of finance and co- investment options for housing development and its associated infrastructure," the report said.

The council's staff recommended they invite the housing and planning ministers to discuss key worker housing stress.

They also recommended other Northern Rivers councils be approached for a collaborative approach to the issue, along with a range of other actions.


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