Tradies offers land for housing

The Tradies group has offered to relinquish vacant land in Canberra’s inner-north for an affordable rental accommodation development being considered by the ACT Government. The l500sqm block housed the former Downer Club at Dickson that burnt down last year.

Tradies chairman Dean Hall said the offer was in addition to a $1 million pledge to secure units for apprentices in the development. He said the block was valued at more than $750,000. “We’re proposing that block of land be used for the betterment of the inner north and people like senior citizens and social affordable housing but we’re restricted in our ability to do that because of the lease,” Mr Hail said.

Land and Property Services chief executive David Dawes said the Government was considering the offer. But he stressed no development would go ahead without community consultation. The Government is also consulting residents about the proposed development of affordable rental accommodation for low-income earners at Downer.

Both sites are currently zoned for community purposes and variations would be required to the territory plan to allow the projects to go ahead.

“I met with the Downer residents a month ago . . . they were very supportive of what we’ve proposed there,” Mr Dawes said. “They are quite keen to see the block redeveloped.” Downer Community Association convenor Miles Boak said a reference group would explore the proposal in greater detail. “We want some action on the Downer central area, which includes a solution for the primary school and former Downer shops,” Mr Boak said. He said the 3.2ha site could accommodate a mix of community and social housing. “We’re happy with the way the Government is approaching it.”

Mr Hall said blue collar workers were being priced-out of developed suburbs. A first year apprentice is paid between $300 to $350 a week. “It’s impossible for them to live. This is one of the major reasons why apprentices stop work, or cease their apprenticeships because they can earn more money staking shelves in Woolworths on casual rates,” Mr Hall said. “The site will be relinquished by the Tradies but the CFMEU will step in then and invest some money to secure some units for apprentices in the construction industry.”

By Ewa Kretowicz
City Reporter
Note: copyright of the material in this clipping resides with Fairfax Media. Usage permitted in accordance with the Australian Copyright Act 1968, Section 42: Fair dealing for purpose of reporting news. Source: The Canberra Times – 16 May 2011

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