Boom brings rent threat

THE liquefied natural gas industry (LNG) may push Gladstone locals out of their homes.

The Observer reported on Tuesday how buyers from all over the country have been purchasing Gladstone properties frantically before prices soar due to the LNG industry.

LJ Hooker director Mark Spearing said rents are being reviewed weekly and the housing demand will most likely cause problems in the very near future.

“The Gladstone Regional Council needs to be reviewing its resources to ensure that development is encouraged and streamlined without compromising the town plan to avoid a possible housing crisis.”

Gladstone Regional Council Development spokesperson Councillor Craig Butler said the LNG industry poses some problems, but the Council is approving development as fast as it can.

“There is 2800 lots that have Council approval at present and of those there is about 500 that have got operational works approval, which allows us to get in and build the roadworks, the sewers and the water, but there is a lead time to get a house constructed,” Cr Butler said. “We have refined the approval process to get approvals through Council as quickly as we possibly can.”

The Queensland Coordinator General’s evaluation report for the Santos GLNG environmental impact statement indicates that the consequences of cumulative demand for housing are unsustainable increases in real estate and rental values, which could see sustained high prices extend for three or four years. “This would almost certainly result in undesirable social problems,” the report says.

A Santos spokesperson said the company is working on its housing strategy in conjunction with relevant stakeholders including the government, to ensure development of collaborative responses to any housing concerns.

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