Bush battles bank as state focuses on city renters

Apr 1, 2022

Bush battles bank as state focuses on city renters

Apr 1, 2022

While regional Queenslanders struggle to put a roof over their heads amid acute housing shortages and impossible lending terms, the Palaszczuk Government has been sitting on its hands and ignoring the bush in favour of expanding the city.

When queried by Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter, the Queensland Treasury admitted it had little awareness of the availability of a 20-year-old scheme designed to help regional Queenslanders secure finance to buy or build a home.

The admission came as the Government announced funding for a Rent-to-Build project in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, evidence of the Government’s tone-deaf prioritisation of expanding social rental housing in the city over enabling people in the regions to own their own home.

The Queensland Housing Finance Loan was introduced in 2001 to replace Government direct lending schemes, designed to help low to moderate income-earners in mainly rural and reginal households to own a home.

However, the take-up has been progressively underwhelming, with a peak of 107 approved loans in 2002-03, down to just 17 in the past financial year.

Mr Katter said the scheme was a small help and encouraged residents to apply, but said it appeared the Government has no appetite to promote it.

He said despite the Government identifying rural and regional Queenslanders as a target group – recognising households in these locations were likely to experience greater difficulties in accessing finance from banks – the situation had only deteriorated.

“Now, banks aren’t loaning to particular postcodes or require a hefty deposit of up to 50 per cent to secure a loan; many locals have secure employment and strong salaries and if they were applying for finance in a different region, they would be treated completely differently,” Mr Katter said.

“Home ownership should be attainable for all Australians; with the current commercial banks’ lending criteria, it is a very real concern that our rural and regional towns may die off.” 

The worsening conditions had been exacerbated by Government inaction, prompting the KAP to refresh its lobbying efforts for solutions to the crisis including a Development Bank as well as changes to the First Home Owners’ Grant (FHOG).

In late 2021, KAP Deputy Leader Nick Dametto MP flagged with the Queensland Treasurer the need to amend the FHOG to include established regional homes valued under $300,000, or offer a ‘Renovation Rebate’.

The amendments were designed to address the severe lack of regional rental properties, the imbalance of the FHOG, lack of tradespeople and building materials, and the excessive costs involved in building new homes in regional Queensland.

For information on the Queensland Housing Finance Loan, visit