LIVING ON STRUGGLE STREET
Spotlight on housing, employment issues in Coffs
THE BIG ISSUE IS THE LACK OF EMPLOYMENT IN THE AREA FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO GET SECURE, LONG-TERM JOBS. SENATOR DOUG CAMERON
HOUSING affordability and homelessness in Coffs Harbour were major talking points during a recent visit from Labor Senator Doug Cameron.
The Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness said he wanted to “dispel views” they weren’t significant issues in regional areas as compared to cities.
“We need to dispel the view that if you simply come to regional Australia you can afford to rent or buy a house,” Senator Cameron said.
“It’s clear there are significant problems here (in Coffs) in relation to rent and accommodation, the amount of homelessness, and the incapacity of young people to afford housing.”
Senator Cameron, along with Labor candidate for Cowper Andrew Woodward and Labor candidate for Page Patrick Deegan, met with representatives to discuss the concerns on Friday.
They highlighted that Coffs Harbour had about 2000 people on the public housing waiting list, and the city had seen a rent increase of about 36 per cent over the past two years.
The youth unemployment rate has also sky-rocketed in the region, with one in five young people unemployed from Coffs Harbour to Grafton.
“The big issue is the lack of employment in the area for young people to get secure, long-term jobs,” Senator Cameron said.
“Another big issue raised constantly is that accommodation that used to be available to low income renters is not available anymore because of Airbnb and the gig economy approach.
“If you look at job numbers, the bulk are being created within a 10km radius from CBDs.
“We need to get a proper program of industry development and job creation in the regions, and we need to make sure TAFE is funded appropriately so we can bring the skills to the area and attract more investment,” Senator Cameron said.
“Also, if we can get NBN operating effectively in the area here you can have plenty of jobs created by people working remotely.
“We believe making sure capital gains tax and negative gearing is not used to push young people out of the housing market.
“We take the view that having a national Minister for Housing and Homelessness is fundamental to giving a voice to young people being forced out of their capacity to buy a house.”
SPOTLIGHT ON HOUSING CRISIS: Labor candidate for Cowper Andrew Woodward and Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness Doug Cameron.