In my conversations with members from just about any industry, it’s an understatement to say that staff shortages are a big problem for businesses in Launceston and northern Tasmania. According to a release by Everybody’s Home on Tuesday, the lost economic output due to vacant jobs (per year) for our region is $201 million. The report states that Launceston and northern Tasmania is one of five regions where the shortage of affordable housing in these communities is undermining the capacity of employers to attract staff.
In addition to this report ABS data has revealed that increases in our population have dramatically slowed, with the four years to June 30, 2020, seeing an average increase of 1320 residents per year, and the year to June 30, 2021, saw an estimated resident increase of just 105.
The anecdotal evidence for this is that people want to move to the region but can’t find anywhere to live. These people could fill the current vacancies but to find accommodation, particularly if they bring a family with them, is tough. Combine this with the increases in homelessness in the region and it’s apparent that housing is the major challenge to our region.
So, what is the solution to housing in the region?
- Should there be incentives for property developers who build medium or high-density affordable residential accommodation?
- Would incentives for property owners to create affordable housing in unused inner-city buildings (infill developments) assist?
- Do we need incentives for those with short-term rentals to move to long-term rentals?
- Does Tasmania need more public housing developments?
- Do we need incentives for those with empty bedrooms to take in a border or incentives to downsize?
Launceston and northern Tasmania are not alone in battling the challenge of housing shortages with other Australian states, New Zealand, and the US all looking at solutions for housing shortages. In Victoria, one council is installing cabins on council property to provide temporary accommodation. Elsewhere in Victoria, an international concept called Home Share is matching an older person (often an older person with a disability) with someone who can provide support, practical help, and companionship in a suitable house.
Are staff shortages a challenge for your business?
Do you have any ideas for possible solutions?
What are your thoughts on this important issue? Please let us know.