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New plan to ‘alleviate housing strain’ when new troops arrive

DHA has revealed how it plans to get 500 more houses on the books before a massive influx of soldiers arrives in Townsville.

The search comes after DHA was under intense scrutiny for the small amount of Defence housing available for the large number of personnel who were set to move to Townsville in the coming years.

Vacant DHA homes in Aitkenvale.

From 2025, there will be an additional 500 troops moving to the city as part of changes the Federal Government and Australian Defence Force announced in September last year.

In a listing on the DHA website, the organisation says it is looking for properties in a number of categories: build to sell and lease; built to retain and lease; corporate investment; property fund or trust.

DHA is holding an expressions of interest opportunity for people interested to showcase their ability to deliver DHA-compliant housing as part of the New Builds Volume Program.

Townsville Enterprise CEO Claudia Brumme-Smith.

In a Townsville Enterprise advocacy alert, CEO Claudia Brumme-Smith said housing the new troops that came to Townsville would be an “acute factor to resolve”.

“This program will certainly alleviate some of this housing strain; however – our job is not done,” she said.

“Based off current approval rates and our project pipeline over the next five years, Townsville would have a shortfall of 4220 dwellings.

“This initial 500 new homes is a huge step in the right direction, but we need to remain focused on securing a number of housing projects that will work to resolve our housing shortage.”

Herbert MP Phillip Thompson said he had been advocating for new housing since the Defence restructure was announced.

“I’ve said from the beginning, we have land available, we just needed a plan to get it opened up and construction to get started,” he said.

“Investors are tripping over themselves to get properties in Townsville at the moment, so hopefully there will be no shortage of interest from local contractors to build them and get them leased back to DHA.”

Mr Thompson said the move would add much-needed supply to a tight market, rather than adding pressure to the existing stock.

“We are in a housing crisis with vacancy rates of less than 1 per cent,” he said.

“We don’t have enough homes for people in Townsville, let alone the 500+ servicemen, women and their families who are set to move here next year.”

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