Tweed wallowing in high-rental quagmire

THE Tweed's rental crisis is%spiralling out of control, with%figures revealing it now costs more to rent a three-bedroom unit here than it would in Sydney. Figures compiled by the Northern Rivers Social Development Council reveal the median rent for a three-bedroom house in the Tweed region is $330 a week, but a similar dwelling in Sydney would cost only $320 a week. However, the median household income on the Tweed is just $683 a week as opposed to Sydney's $1154. To compound the problem the percentage of public housing on the Tweed remains a low 9.7 compared with 15.3 in Sydney. Not surprisingly, rental stress - paying more than 30 per cent of household income on rent - remains high on the Tweed. Between 48 per cent of renting households in Kingscliff, and 65 per cent in Chinderah suffer from rental stress. Northern Rivers Social Development Council Affordable Housing Project officer Trish Evans said the lack of adequate housing on the Tweed coast was one of the main reasons behind the worsening homelessness in the region. "People on low incomes are taking up temporary accommodation like caravan parks," Ms Evans said. "There are so few housing options that everybody is getting squeezed out with nowhere to go." "House rental prices in the region, especially on the coast, are extremely expensive," Ms Evans said. "People here don't earn as much as in the cities but the rent is similar to what you would find in the cities." Ms Evans said insufficient public housing added to the problem. "There is a long waiting period for public housing," she said. "All of that puts enormous stress on people." Tweed MP Geoff Provest said he was shocked by the figures. "There is a massive shortage of rental properties on the Tweed," Mr Provest said. "NSW government charges encourage builders to invest across the border." Mr Provest said there was a need to introduce a subsidy scheme that would encourage investment and allow more affordable housing on the Tweed. "We need a subsidy scheme designed to offset state government charges to allow local business to compete on an equal footing with Queensland," he said. Tweed Shire Council community development officer Jenny Funari said there was a need for different types of accommodation to cater to all needs and budgets. "We need more one and two-bedroom units for the elderly and those who have small families," Ms Funari said. "People think affordable housing is for people on the dole, but essential workers like teachers' aides, clerks and hospital cleaners can't afford expensive houses."



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