DEPRESSING DATA: Census data has revealed Gladstone vacancies are on a rise.
DEPRESSING DATA: Census data has revealed Gladstone vacancies are on a rise. Paul Braven GLA260617HOUSE

Housing pain as one in five Gladstone homes empty

ALMOST one in five Gladstone region homes are empty, in another sign of the region's desperate need for a new project.

Census data released this week showed the extent of the housing pain experienced in Gladstone post the LNG boom.

It found that 19.2% or 5087 of Gladstone's houses were empty last year, compared to 13.2% or 2944 in 2011.

Gladstone Regional Council Deputy Mayor Chris Trevor said it showed a "very, very sad" picture for Gladstone.

Our region wasn't alone in the dwindling number of occupied homes, with other regions dependent on mining and construction also suffering.

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It was even bleaker for the north Queensland coal mining town of Moranbah with 33.7% of its houses unoccupied last year.

Cr Trevor said locals and investors were hurting from the housing crisis with many losing their investment properties and their homes.

Construction of Curtis Island's three $80 billion dollar LNG export plants lured thousands to the region for work and investments in 2011.

"A lot of people bought an investment property in the boom because there was nowhere else to invest their money in," Cr Trevor said.

"We were post financial crisis. You couldn't put your money in the share market because that collapsed. Bonds were no good either and you'd make no money by putting it in the bank."

A combination of construction workers leaving town en masse searching for work, having no shovel ready projects and people on government benefits returning to their home town were the three main reasons for the increase in unoccupied homes, Cr Trevor said.

Cr Trevor, Gladstone's former Labor federal member, also used the new information to renew his calls for the Prime Minister to visit the region.

He said the best way to get people back in Gladstone's empty homes was for the State and Federal governments to fast-track projects and developments for Gladstone.

"It is very, very serious for our long-term locals," he said.

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He said the government would be losing "tens of millions" because of Gladstone home owners claiming negative gearing on their unoccupied properties.

"We need long-term employment for our locals," he said.

"We need every project for Gladstone and the wider CQ to be fast-tracked, like East Shores stage two and the Gladstone Hospital upgrade."

The figures from last year's Census show of the occupied homes in the 4680 postcode, 7153 are still paying off their mortage. The data also found the median weekly personal income was $728, higher than Queensland's median of $660.



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