Shelter WA calls for government-owned land in Carnarvon, Geraldton to be used for cheap housing

Phoebe Pin & Elise Van AkenMidwest Times
Michelle MacKenzie CEO Shelter WA outside Parliament House in Perth.
Camera IconMichelle MacKenzie CEO Shelter WA outside Parliament House in Perth. Credit: Ross Swanborough/The West Australian

About 7420sqm of government-owned land listed for sale in Carnarvon could be rezoned and converted into dozens of one-bedroom units, a new study has found.

Shelter WA last week released a report which calculated the potential housing yield for government assets listed or identified for sale across WA.

Land at 69 and 71 Olivia Terrace, Carnarvon is already under offer, and a former Carnarvon primary school has been earmarked for future sale. A 7422sqm area formerly known as the Carnarvon Justice Precinct is now on the market, with Shelter WA suggesting the land could accommodate 157 one-bedroom units.

In Geraldton, a government-owned 4.58ha undeveloped greenfields site at Guara Drive in Sunset Beach is listed on the Geraldton Property Team website.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


The Mid West land parcels form some of the 30 government-owned assets on the market identified in the study using data available from the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage.

Shelter WA CEO Michelle Mackenzie said the sites could be developed to help meet housing demand in regional areas where rental vacancy rates were lingering around one per cent.

“Here we have a win-win opportunity where the Government already owns the most expensive part of the development,” she said.

“We would hate to see this opportunity missed ... We are urging the government to work in partnership with the community housing sector as a delivery partner to develop affordable housing on these assets, rather than sell it off.”

Her comments come after WA Minister for Housing John Carey said ownership of one public housing property had been offered to a local community housing organisation in Geraldton, but the offer was declined, and management of the property was adopted by the State Welfare Incident Coordination Centre.

Mr Carey said the State Government was investing about $1 billion to expand and upgrade its public housing stock across WA and to ensure the necessary home-lessness supports were in place.

“ I remain focused on increasing housing supply through measures such as our $20,000 Building Bonus Grant, expansion to eligibility for Keystart and the provision of affordable residential land through our $116m Regional Land Booster program,” he said.

“These measures are driving an increase in overall housing stock across the State, helping to stimulate strong annual growth in new home building approvals, including a 135 per cent increase in building approvals year-on-year to May 2021 in Geraldton.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails