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Hinterland pushes tiny homes law

by Richard Bruinsma

A group of hinterland individuals is leading a community response to the growing housing affordability crisis - starting with rewriting the Sunshine Coast Council local law that oversees tiny homes.

The Tiny Community Living Campaign group is pushing for Council to support a modified local law that will make it legal to permanently allow tiny homes on local private properties, with conditions.

Campaigner Helen Andrew (pictured), who has rewritten the ‘Establishment and Occupation of a Temporary Home’ local law, said the changes would allow one tiny home on a property of 800 square metres, with a sliding scale depending on property size, up to five tiny homes allowed on properties of 10 acres and larger.

Helen noted there had been some claims that Council needed state government input to change the local laws, but that has proved to be incorrect.

“Our understanding is that, because it’s a subordinate law, our council has the ability to make local laws to fit the community’s needs, without state government involvement, except when it actually contravenes a state law,” she explained.

“There is no state law that says you have to have a permit, there is no state law that says you have to have a timeframe, and, to date, I have yet to find a state law that says it is only limited to one per property.

“The local law will still be in place because it ensures that people who are under that local law make sure they look after their waste and amenity, and care for the land, and care for the space, care for the neighbourhood.”

Currently, the local law allows only one ‘temporary’ house - that is, anything on wheels - for a maximum of four weeks in a 52-week period, unless the occupant has a permit, with conditions and for a $514 fee, that extends that to a maximum 18 months – rules leftover from when the law was meant for those living in temporary accommodation on their properties while having a house built.

Helen said councillors David Law (Division 10), Christian Dickson (6), and Joe Natoli (4) have all shown support for the new local law, as has new mayor Rosanna Natoli. She hopes new councillors will also support the idea, to garner the six votes required for its introduction.

“We’re asking our council to put that on the agenda of an ordinary meeting and vote for that new local law to come into place,” she said.

The group notes that evictions from tiny homes on private properties fails to recognise the current national housing crisis, fails to support the most vulnerable in the community, and simply shifts the 'problem' to different locations.

Some homeless residents camp at some local parks - including at Conondale, Landsborough, Coolum, and the Maleny Showgrounds - for the allowable 72 hours, before being required to leave, by police or council officers, effectively forcing them to move between the locations every three days. "

“Everybody wants this law,” said Helen. “All the community want it, the people want it, the people who have the houses want it, the people that don’t have the houses want it, we’re just waiting for the council to literally tick a box and sign on the dotted line, that’s all it’s going to take.

“We’ve even written the law for them.”


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