LIV­ING ON STRUG­GLE STREET

Spot­light on hous­ing, em­ploy­ment is­sues in Coffs

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - NEWS - JAS­MINE MINHAS jas­mine.minhas@coff­s­coas­tad­vo­cate.com.au

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.”

Photo: Trevor Veale

SPOT­LIGHT ON HOUS­ING CRI­SIS: La­bor can­di­date for Cow­per An­drew Wood­ward and Shadow Min­is­ter for Hous­ing and Home­less­ness Doug Cameron.

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