Twenty homes in 10 years spurs Carnarvon Shire to apply for workers’ accommodation funding

Phoebe PinMidwest Times
Carnarvon is struggling with a severe housing shortage.
Camera IconCarnarvon is struggling with a severe housing shortage. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

Just 20 homes have been built in Carnarvon in the past 10 years, according to a report urging council to seek funding to build workers’ accommodation to help alleviate housing challenges.

On Tuesday the Shire of Carnarvon was presented with the report, which suggested the council apply for a $250,000 Regional Economic Development grant to support the construction of three new dwellings. It was said the development would increase the number of workers’ accommodation in Carnarvon, “while not on a scale that would have a negative impact on potential private sector developers.”

“In the past 10 years, only 20 homes have been built in Carnarvon, rendering the median age of the housing stock at 50 years,” the report said. “Initial consultation with several government agencies... has identified that the lack of housing is limiting employment growth, therein creating resource strain that negatively impacts service provision, which has a further impact on population growth and associated development within the Shire.”

Member for North West Central Vince Catania in January told the Midwest Times there were about 6500 people in Carnarvon when he became the local member in 2008, a figure which Australian Bureau of Statistics data revealed had dropped to 5500 by 2016.

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Mr Catania at the time said a significant investment in land development was needed to reverse the population fall and see at least 6000 people living in Carnarvon by 2030.

“We need land, housing and utilities such as power, water and sewerage to be able to make this happen,” he said.

Another housing option presented to councillors was to build a single new executive home and sell one or two of Shire-owned houses, but the report stated this alternative “would offer no additional housing stock to alleviate Carnarvon’s chronic shortage of workforce accommodation.”

Building a five-dwelling group housing development on a tourism-zoned Robinson Street block was also considered. But the report said this option would fail to recognise the “longer-term strategic positioning of this block for tourism”. It was suggested the Shire contribute $1 million from its local roads and community infrastructure fund and $565,000 in borrowings to leverage the $250,000 in RED grant funding.

Council voted in favour of the motion.

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