Tasmania is not alone on the issue of housing affordability, as council representatives from across Australia discussed how local government can help address this nationwide issue at the latest National General Assembly of Local Government.
The migration of people moving from the cities to regional areas was a considerable issue at the 27 Assembly in Canberra, attended by Tasmanian council mayors and general managers.
So too was housing affordability, where it was highlighted that local governments are stepping up their efforts to address the critical issue of housing option.
Local Government Association of Tasmania president Christina Holmdahl said housing affordability was an issue in Tasmania and it seemed to be an even bigger problem on mainland Australia.
"There has certainly been a lot of discussion about how people are leaving the big cities and moving into the regions, something like 45,000 Victorians have already moved in the last 12 months," Cr Holmdahl said.
"That has caused tremendous problems with regards to housing," she said.
"The other topic with lots of discussion and several motions touched on the topic was affordable housing. While it is becoming an issue in Tasmania certainly, on the mainland it is a very big issue. One of the representatives from a Victoria community said there is no affordable housing, where the average home price is $1.5 million."
She said in Tasmania, the lack of housing supply needed to be addressed, and local government needed to engage the state government on the issue.
"We've got to work with the state government to release land that could be made available for affordable housing."
Regional Australian Institute Kim Houghton was a key presenter at the conference and said efforts by local government to attract people to regional centres was hampered by long-term under investment in residential housing in regional areas, and regional planning based on low population growth.
He added however that innovative things were happening in councils, which felt compelled to show leadership on the issue.
"A lot of regional planning has been done using 'business-as-usual scenarios," Dr Houghton said.
"So, many regions haven't been prepared for the significant uptick in growth that's been one of the unexpected outcomes of COVID-19.
"However, many regional councils have responded quickly to the crisis, working with developers to open new residential lots, selling land, and contributing to community housing projects via loans."
Australian Local Government Association president Linda Scott said local governments were leading housing efforts as they had a clear understanding of community needs.
"All levels of government need to be working together to address the critical issues like a lack of suitable housing options, poor digital connectivity, and transport links."
The National General Assembly ends June 23.