At today’s National Regional Housing Summit, the National Farmers’ Federation is calling on policymakers to shine a light on how farmers can be part of the solution to Australia’s deepening housing crisis.
The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) today released regional figures showing the median house price has jumped 54.2% and the rental vacancy rate has dropped to 1.2%.
NFF President David Jochinke said: “It’s no secret agriculture is struggling with workforce shortages, and one of the biggest barriers to getting employees on farm is a lack of regional housing.
“What adds complexity to agriculture’s housing requirements is not only do farmers want to attract permanent workers, but they also rely on a seasonal workforce for planting and harvest time.”
Mr Jochinke said the RAI’s push to develop bespoke housing options was a step in the right direction.
“Let’s get all ideas on the table so we find smart solutions and get the balance right between meeting housing demand and, to quote Darryl Kerrigan, maintain regional Australia’s charm.”
The NFF wants to see a boost in the regional housing mix of on-farm accommodation and traditional housing.
“Farmers can be part of the solution to the regional housing crisis.”
Mr Jochinke said on-farm solutions provided a double win by eliminating the need for seasonal workers to find accommodation in nearby towns and travelling long distances each day, while also freeing up housing in regional communities.
“An accelerated depreciation or instant asset write-off scheme could incentivise farmers to invest in housing and accommodation.
“As it stands, the Fringe Benefits Tax discourages farmers from providing housing and accommodation for employees.”
Solutions also include reducing red tape through simplifying planning rules and making sure the Government’s $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund focuses on the regions.