WITH many of Gladstone's less wealthy tenants and prospective homeowners driven out of town by raised rents from the construction boom, a bid by Curtis Island LNG companies to make it up to the Gladstone community is now one step closer to fruition.
Construction of a $20 million affordable housing project formally started on Thursday, with the first sod of soil turned at the project's central Gladstone site on Glenlyon Rd.
The site is one of two locations under development, with the second at Fisher St.
Hopes are high that the new homes will play a crucial role in attracting key professionals such as teachers and emergency service workers to the region.
QGC vice-president Brett Smith said he was excited the project had commenced and acknowledged the effect of LNG construction on housing in the region had not always been positive.
"Construction is two-edged. You bring a lot of money but rent can go up," he said.
But Mr Smith said project backers Santos GLNG, QGC and Australian Pacific LNG were committed to helping create more housing options for Gladstone residents.
"We want to be part of the housing solution because we genuinely care about Gladstone and want people to have access to affordable housing," he said.
While the cost of rent has fallen significantly in the past 12 months, it is still hard to attract key workers, according to Gladstone Affordable Housing's Brian Stewart.
"Gladstone is one of those areas where it's been very hard to attract people to the professions that need them," he said.
Local not-for-profit housing and social services provider Roseberry Community Services will manage the GAH properties.
Assistant Minister for Planning Reform Rob Molhoek joined Gladstone independent MP Liz Cunningham, Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers and representatives of all three LNG projects at a sod-turning ceremony.
- Initial 12 rental units to be built on Glenlyon St in nine months
- Rent will be about 25% cheaper than market price
- 32 units and villas on Fisher St due to be built in 12 months, up for sale
- House cost also subsidised