Measures on housing crisis

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times

Shire of Augusta-Margaret River councillors have moved special measures to address the region’s housing shortage and the stress experienced by residents finding themselves with nowhere to go.

At a snap special meeting on Wednesday, councillors endorsed a media campaign encouraging residents and absentee landlords to open their doors to tenants in crisis.

Other moves included flexibility for short-term property owners to host tenants for six months, and changes to the Shire’s Local Planning Policy 7 which temporarily removes short-stay prospects for homes within 500 metres of the town centre.

Anticipating brutal fallout from the impending end of a moratorium on rental evictions, Shire president Ian Earl would also write to WA’s new housing and communities ministers urging crisis accommodation action. The letter would ask for immediate resources for Margaret River’s Department of Communities office.

That move comes despite the Department of Communities itself denying its office even is an office, with the officer position vacant since December and no replacement while the Government reviews its trial program conducted across six regional towns. Wednesday’s motion follows a call to action from housing advocacy group Just Home Margaret River, which offered a multi-point plan to the Government as it entered caretaker mode before last weekend’s election.

Cr Earl said construction times meant delays before more rental stock came onto the market.

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