The State Government is holding on to surplus land that could be used to help tackle the current housing crisis, Nationals MP Gaelle Broad said today.
Ms Broad said prime locations in areas such as Bendigo and Wodonga were sitting idle while regional Victoria faces a rental and housing affordability crisis.
“In Bendigo, three sites have been identified that together total 80 hectares of land. This has the capacity to provide approximately 2600 dwellings and accommodate up to 6400 people,” she said.
“The Chum Street site in Golden Square is fully serviced and has the potential to accommodate up to 840 people.”
Ms Broad said the sale and development of land in Bendigo had stalled because of earlier mining activity.
“Work needs to be done to assess the actual levels of contamination and remediation costs and resolve zoning issues.”
Meanwhile, in Wodonga, former railway land in the centre of town is also sitting idle and could be developed into residential housing.
Both sites are close to shopping centres, schools, health services and public transport.
Ms Broad said local councils needed genuine support from the State Government to release the land.
“There are great examples of projects in Victoria where contaminated land has been rehabilitated.
“Developers showed strong interest when the Fitzroy gasworks site came on the market in Melbourne last year to create a new neighbourhood for 1000 families. The site had to be cleaned up under an EPA order to remove contaminated soil.
“Likewise in 2020 there was great interest in Mobil’s former petroleum storage tank site next to the West Gate Bridge.”
Ms Broad said more should be done to encourage private developers to increase the amount of affordable housing in regional areas.
“I note the gold royalty tax that commenced in 2020 has provided a windfall to state government revenue, raising close to $43 million last financial year. It would be great to see the tax revenue that comes from mining contribute to this project and support regional development,” she said.
“The State Government should not be sitting on this land in Bendigo and Wodonga when it could be put to good use. The Minister for Planning should work with these respective local councils to expedite plans to enable development of these sites.”