October 6, 2021
Demand for public housing in the South Burnett is now exceeding available supply by almost a third, according to new data.
The shortage of public housing is so severe that South Burnett applicants are now being forced to wait an average of more than 20 months to secure a roof over their heads.
The most extreme case is an approved public housing applicant who has been waiting almost 10 years for a suitable property to become available.
And according to State Government data, almost one-fifth of all approved applicants suffer from a disability.
The shocking statistics come from the latest update of the State Government’s Social Housing Register, which is published annually.
The latest figures show that one-bedroom and two-bedroom homes are in greatest demand (66 per cent) with three, four and five-bedroom dwellings making up the balance.
The release of the new information was prompted by Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington.
On August 31, she asked Housing Minister Leeanne Enoch if the government could provide data about the number of public housing dwellings available in the Nanango electorate, broken down by regional council area, and the number of applicants currently waiting for public housing accommodation.
Minister Enoch said there were 253 social housing dwellings in the Nanango electorate, including 233 in the South Burnett Regional Council area.
She then referred Mrs Frecklington to the Social Housing Register for up-to-date demand figures.
These figures show that at June 30 this year, there were 72 approved applicants waiting for public housing in the South Burnett.
This number is almost a third higher than the existing supply.
The issues of social housing and homelessness have been discussed by the South Burnett Regional Council several times in recent months with several proposals currently under investigation.
Discussions have revolved around a rental shortage – especially in Kingaroy and Nanango – caused by a boost in sales to owner-occupiers.
There has also been a noticeable rise in posts on social media by former renters seeking alternative accommodation.
Council has reported that building approvals are at an all-time high however in some cases construction has slowed due to pandemic-related material shortages.