Friday, November 10, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
A significant accommodation precinct is being proposed at Mackay Airport, with concept developments underway in partnership with Greater Whitsunday Communities and Regional Development Australia.
The concept was introduced during a strategic meeting at the Housing Summit in August, hosted by Greater Whitsunday Communities and Regional Development Australia to identify the issues faced in our region and allow key stakeholders to identify solutions.
Innovation through collaboration was a key focus of the Housing Summit, identifying Mackay Airport as a spearhead for future opportunities. A prominent solution was the Housing Action Plan, with the Mackay Workforce Accommodation Precinct introduced to hopefully create more affordable housing.
Key local stakeholders say the development would help to relieve the critical strain on workforce accommodation options in the region, which is impacting employers, their operations and overall economic viability.
Executive Officer of Greater Whitsundays Communities, Carol Norris stated, “What we’ve discovered in our collaboration, is that there is a real gap in social infrastructure, and that starts with housing.
“We need to improve the liveability of our region.”
Mackay Airport Head of Operations Adrian Miles said, “As a crucial gateway to the Mackay region, Mackay Airport is committed to supporting economic growth and enhancing the overall experience for workers and residents alike.
“To this end, we are exploring the overall demand for development of a permanent workers accommodation precinct on a designated portion of airport land.
“Concepts have been done, and we want to work with interested parties to develop those further. We want to make sure we get it right so we can deliver exactly what is needed for the community’s workforce.
“Mackay’s workforce industries are suffering from the lack of accommodation within Mackay. When they do employ people to come to the region, as we know there is very low rental occupancy rates as well as permanent housing available.
“This would offer that permanent solution for workers coming to Mackay. I believe this could be the catalyst to kick it off and look at those permanent, long-term housing solutions in Mackay.”
The accommodation precinct would be strategically located within the airport precinct, offering convenient access to the terminal and industrial areas, including flexible accommodation options with a mix of studio, one bed and two bedroom units.
Chief Executive Officer of Regional Development Australia, Jeff Stewart-Harris stated, “The housing situation in [the] region is a common problem across Australia. What we need to be able to do to grow as a region, is to get the workforce accommodated.
“What we know is that this region has an economic output of over $22 billion, and that’s being strained by housing.
“We know that there are more than 20,000 non-resident workers in the region throughout the year, many of those who would like to be part of the community who can’t be because of this.
“What’s being proposed by Mackay Airport is to test the market to see who would be interested in being able to solve their piece of the puzzle in part of a bigger picture.
“Interest is there, it’s about finding ways to create new supply,” he said.
Mackay Airport invites qualified and interested parties, companies and organisations to come forward to submit expressions of interest and work with us on this concept and lease the purpose-built accommodation.
Interested groups are being invited to submit an EOI by the end of November.
Mackay Airport Head of Operations Adrian Miles, Chief Executive Officer of Regional Development Australia, Jeff Stewart-Harris and Executive Officer of Greater Whitsundays Communities, Carol Norris discuss a new accommodation precinct
Photo credit: Sinead Porter
Mockup for the Mackay Airport Village design concept
Mockup for the Mackay Airport Village communal space design concept