A visit to social and community housing projects across South East Queensland in late July has given a Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) delegation ideas about how it might support or advocate for similar projects to add to the Region’s housing choice.

TRC Planning and Development Committee chair Cr Megan O’Hara Sullivan said the tour inspected new community housing facilities at Labrador and Southport, Woolloongabba in Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan.

Cr O’Hara Sullivan said the tour would inform future discussions and possible decisions around the extent of Council’s involvement in the provision of more social and community housing across the Toowoomba Region.

“Council’s work to prepare a new Planning Scheme, under the Toowoomba Region Futures banner, is planning for growth over the next 30 years to ensure there is more choice in where and how our diverse population lives,” Cr O’Hara Sullivan said.

“This offers a chance to plan for a greater variety of well-designed housing options that are close to transport, recreation areas, retail and service hubs. Everyone deserves to have a roof over their head.

“The inspections identified that future housing options need to meet lifestyle demands catering for everyone from singles, young professionals, various family compositions and youth (including at risk youth) to key workers (emergency services personnel), people with a disability and seniors.

“While Council is not a housing developer, there could be opportunities for Council to provide suitable parcels of land, owned by TRC and surplus to community requirements, that could be attractive to not-for-profit housing providers.

“Council must work more closely with existing not-for-profit community housing providers, private developers and housing support services to achieve a better mix of rental housing accommodation within the Region.

“We also need a thorough understanding of housing needs across the Region to determine our most effective response.

“The projects we visited were built by not-for-profit community housing providers using a variety of funding models, including funding provided by the state and federal governments.”

Council is expected to consider future options later this year.

Caption: Councillors and TRC Strategic Planning officers inspect the Anne Street Garden Villas, Southport community housing project - a collaborative project between the state government and Anna O’Gorman Architects.