Major Housing Development Announced for Townsville to Support Defence Personnel.

In a significant development, the Australian Government has unveiled plans to construct approximately 500 new homes in Townsville. This initiative, led by Defence Housing Australia (DHA), aims to provide housing for Defence Force personnel and their families, as well as to bolster the local housing market. The announcement was made by Matt Thistlethwaite, Assistant Minister for Defence.

“This project represents a substantial investment in the Townsville community,” stated Thistlethwaite. “Defence Housing Australia has gone out to the market to construct about 500 new properties here in Townsville. This initiative not only supports our Defence personnel and their families but also addresses the local housing demand, benefiting the broader community.”

The construction of these 500 homes is scheduled to take place over the next five years. One of the key sites for this development is Aitkenvale, where 140 homes will be built near Ross River. “Plans for Aitkenvale are about to be announced, with the tender process beginning in the coming months. Half of these homes will be allocated for Defence housing, while the other half will be available to the local community,” Thistlethwaite explained.

The project opens significant opportunities for local businesses and investors. DHA has issued an expression of interest for the construction of these homes, which includes both Greenfield developments and existing properties. “There’s a big opportunity for investors and local businesses to either construct new homes or provide them from the existing housing stock,” Thistlethwaite noted.

With Townsville currently experiencing a 1% vacancy rate in properties, this initiative aims to alleviate housing pressures. “Defence Housing Australia is constructing additional properties to ensure we meet the increasing demand as more troops move to the area over the next five years,” said Thistlethwaite. He also highlighted that Defence currently manages around 1250 properties in Townsville, with about 100 currently vacant, providing some immediate capacity before new constructions are completed.

Townsville has long been recognized as a crucial garrison town, and its strategic importance has only increased with the announcement of the National Defence Strategy, which will see additional troops rotating into the area. “This isn’t an immediate influx, but a gradual increase over the next four to five years, giving us time to plan and build the necessary infrastructure,” Thistlethwaite assured.

Addressing concerns about the impact on current residents, particularly in areas like Aitkenvale, Thistlethwaite clarified, “In Aitkenvale, many of the properties are in a state of disrepair and uninhabitable due to natural disasters and lack of upgrades. Current residents will have been notified, and new, modern homes will be constructed to replace these old ones.”

For families relocating to Townsville, Thistlethwaite’s message is one of reassurance. “No one is being forced to relocate. This is part of the normal posting process of the Australian Defence Force. We are ensuring that there will be adequate, high-quality housing available for those who choose to move here, allowing them to enjoy rewarding careers in this vibrant community.”

This extensive housing project underscores the government’s commitment to supporting its Defence personnel while simultaneously addressing local housing challenges, promising a brighter future for Townsville’s residents.


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  • Noel Usher May 28, 2024   Reply →

    Aitkenvale “near the river” is a vulnerable area during floods. I certainly wouldn’t live there, but maybe it will be well suited to our defence forces. Of course, in the event of a flood, the member could be happy helping others to clean up while their own family is occupied dealing with their own problems. A wonderful project.

  • Gino May 28, 2024   Reply →

    Half of these homes will be allocated for Defence housing, while the other half will be available to the local community,

    Defence funds are being used to reduce the housing shortfall which is a political problem.

    DHA was established and operates under the authority of the Defence Housing Australia Act 1987 (DHA Act).

    The DHA website states:

    ‘The main function of DHA is to provide adequate and suitable housing for, and housing related services to:

    members of the Defence Force and their families
    officers and employees of the Department of Defence and their families
    persons contracted to provide goods or services to the Defence Force and their families
    in order to meet the operational needs of the ADF and the requirements of the Department.

    Nowhere does it state that it is to provide housing to non Defence personnel or their associates in competition with the local market.

    In effect, DHA will be using money allocated by Parliament to meet Defence objectives for other than Defence purposes.

    Has the DHA Act been amended to allow for this expenditure to legally occur and is DHA’s priority to the provision of community housing rather than Defence housing?

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