More Land Needed in Port Hedland

4 June 2012

The lack of affordable housing in the mining towns of Karratha and Port Hedland is killing the prospects of growth in northern Australia, according to John Shipp, director of the ANDEV/IPA North Australia project.

It comes after Landcorp released just 40 allotments of Crown land in Port Hedland last year.

“Port Hedland is facing a housing affordability crisis and Land Corp simply isn’t doing enough to counter it,” Shipp says.

“Karratha and Port Hedland have an estimated housing shortage of 1531 and 1402 dwellings respectively and I think that’s a low-ball figure because it doesn’t factor in latent demand.

“In a town where housing is in such hot demand and local renters are being forced out of town, far more Crown land should be released for development.”

As of September 2011, the average three-bedroom house in South Hedland sold for around $700,000 and weekly rent on the same dwelling had grown to $1700 per week. Shipp says releasing more land would encourage more permanent settlement and less fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) labour.

“FIFO only makes sense because it’s cheaper to fly to Karratha than live there,” Shipp says.

“If you want to encourage permanent settlement and discourage FIFO, start with land release.”