10 May 2023

Housing hot on agenda of Entsch’s highway visit

| Matt Nicholls
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Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch with the Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Council last week.

HOUSING continues to be a major sore point for Cape York communities as the region struggles to keep up with the demands of the population.

Both the Hope Vale and Cook Shire councils were quick to voice their concerns to Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch when he visited their communities last week.

In the Aboriginal community of Hope Vale, locals rely on public housing, which comes under the jurisdiction of the state government, but has historically been backed by federal funding.

Those funds have dried up in Queensland with an impasse between the Palaszczuk and Morrison governments, putting a strain on all Cape communities.

Councils are now looking at other options for housing and Mr Entsch said he was excited about plans in Hope Vale.

“I had a really good meeting with the council and they are doing something that no one else has done in the Cape,” he said.

“The council has identified sites to build two lots of six self-contained independent living housing for half a dozen males and half a dozen females.

“One of the problems that is arising in the communities is there are mature-age people still living at home with their siblings, parents and grandparents.

“They are single adults and don’t qualify for a house.

“This is really positive thinking from the mayor and CEO.”

In Cooktown, Mr Entsch said he was concerned that Queensland Health and other state government bodies were causing a housing squeeze.

“They are talking about building a new hospital – something that should have happened 10 years ago – but they are not talking about building any new houses,” the MP said last week.

“I am in town and told of locals who are being forced to leave town because the house they are renting has sold and there is nowhere for them to go.

“It’s really sad.”

Cook Shire mayor Peter Scott said the council was in deep discussions with a major superannuation company about developing a parcel of land in town, with a view to securing long-term leases with the state government.

“We hope that will go ahead and some of the existing properties will be freed up in the long-term,” he said.

“Housing is a major issue across all of Queensland and its talked about at every local government conference I go to.

“We don’t want to see the state government buy a heap of properties because they don’t pay rates. If we can open up land and develop it, then we will have more residential housing.”

Mr Entsch said the problem with Queensland Health renting houses was the flow-on effect.

“It inflates the prices of rent for everyone else,” he said.

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