Getting started ; you know putting a roof over your head is almost downright impossible for younger people. This sort of discrimination shouldn’t be allowed to continue. With my generation you could get started in life more simply than one can do today (sorry to put such an age gap and I will refrain from going down memory lane too much in this story). You could work hard save a bit , buy a piece of land and over the years put a house up and see the benefits of your labour.
Nowadays with the regulatory madness it is almost impossible for a young family to do something for themselves. The costs of land, double glazing, solar panels, planning applications, home owner builder fees with a general need to have stable employment and much much more. This quagmire makes it virtually impossible for the younger ones to get started unless they have heaps of money.
So why don’t we give them a bit of encouragement? Why don’t we set up some sort of deal whereby persons under 30 are eligible for a kick start building package coordinated by our Council?
So this is the idea I am putting on the table. I will try to make it some what definitive so that the reader can see that it is feasible, reasonable and maybe help all of us in the community in ways we can’t imagine at this stage. Definitive ideas but only as I see it. The committees out there that would make this happen can change it as much as they like but the essence of the deal is for us the ratepayers to stand up and say we want something to happen for this generation of people.
Now the package of assistance. Firstly as stated you have to be under a certain age; lets say 30 years and this would eventually be their first home. Secondly you must be limited in assets and income. This proviso is to exclude those who can afford it not being entitled to this assistance. Assets or a permanent job as I have just stated are not particularly necessary to being assisted.The main requirement is that you are prepared to make something in the way of a home through your own effort.
Now the package as I see it would be the provision of a block of land. The municipality is surrounded by State forests and unoccupied land. A number of sites throughout the municipality might be made available. The Council in conjunction with the State should be responsible for securing these blocks. ( If they can’t find anything I would be prepared to chop up our farm) Before allocation each block would be serviced with power, communication and water and sewerage if available. The council would work with the relevant bodies to encourage them to assist with this package in their area of expertise. For example TasWater might facilitate a water supply to the building site and Aurora likewise poles a meter and power lines. The block would already have a site cleared and meet all relevant building codes including the bushfire code. Lets say three housing plans would be made available at no cost with support from building suppliers including the relevant site plan once the person had chosen the plan he/she liked. In return the applicant would make the building supplier the preferred supplier. (again subject to conditions) The plans would therefore satisfy Council requirements for design and any relevant engineering requirements.
The plans would be relatively simple to build with no elaborate feature. Maybe 1 to 2 bedrooms, kitchenette/dining area, lounge, bathroom. Provision would be made available for the plan to be extended at the users discretion at some future date when they could afford it. The possible later extension could also be submitted with the original plan so that another application is not necessary at a future date.
To be an eligible candidate for this package the couple must be prepared to build the house themself. To help them retired tradesmen or other experienced persons would be invited and assigned at mentors. They might be builders, electricians, plumbers, plasterers tilers or skilled older owner builders. As volunteers their job would be to give the young guys the confidence to get them started. They could be rotated depending on the job requirements or they could just would on the one house until it is finished. They are not meant to do the work but simply to share their experience. I have had mentors on many jobs over the years and it certainly helped. The applicants would also liaison with the Building inspectors provided by the council. The Council staff would be expected to guide the applicants and not place too many hurdles in their way. Each candidate would be expected to undertake the Home Owner Building course which would be provided by the Tafe facility at St. Helens. (It hasn’t happened yet – but would be needed as part of this package).
So how much would the young applicant need. Well I expect most would be eligible for the homeowners grant which is $10,000. As an example the plan shown above is 70m 2 .$50,000 should be more than enough to get the house to lockup stage. So lets assume the applicant needs $40000. At say 5% that amounts to $2000 per annum interest repayment only. I say the applicant could take this sort of financial risk particularly if Council was prepared to be a guarantor. ( there are a number of variables here e.g the principal might be increased to $70000 making the annual interest repayments on $60000 equal to $3000 at 5% but at the going rate of 3.6% this repayment would meet effectively reduce the loan.) These are rough numbers which obviously one can pull apart and make into anything you wanted. But they do point out that the scheme is affordable with this sort of support even if the applicant didn’t have a job at first.
Naturally I have been told that such a scheme wouldn’t be worth pursuing as there is no work for young people in this area. You all would have heard such negative statements being echoed about any worthwhile project that is suggested. I often think that the Conservatives always win as taking no risks means making no losses. If you are on Council or whatever and nothing happens then nothing goes wrong. But is that really true?
Is the Break O’Day municipality going ok or is it disappearing down a sink hole. It is my opinion that this municipality has missed so many opportunities to make this this place a better place to live.
The education system still seems to be unattractive for senior students. No advantage has been taken to promote the educational activities in this area.There is no ability for students to board in the area. (crazy as this may seem that is what many of our students do when they travel to Launceston or Hobart) Imagine if rowing, surfing
trekking and rockclimbing
were promoted as part of the school curriculum.
There are no gazetted long distance walks or bicycle paths linking the east coast. There are only a few icons which would get visitors to stay longer in the area. Even Derby shows us up with its world class mountain bike trails built I might add at little cost.
I think many of us have accepted the sink hole philosophy. This is my summation of the reality and my belief is re-inforced with the number of suicides occurring in the area, the amount of instances of drug abuse and of course people feeling depressed. We can’t sweep these things under the carpet we must make changes and take risks.
More work on the package. Discuss its merits, refine what can be achieved and then release it to the public. It would go viral and put Break O’day on the map as a town with a vision for change. Lets say we start with 100 packages. One hundred houses to be built in the first year. If successful then we would repeat it. Two or three hundred people move to the area. For that year we have a significant increase in population using our facilities, buying goods and generally trying to make a life for themselves. These people will be our future. These people will become skilled and if welcomed will want to stay. Lack of jobs is sort of like discussing what came first the chicken or the egg. Jobs will turn up as people need assistance. People want to eat out, kids need schools, hospitals treat more patients and so on. Materials need to be purchased. Young people will come into the area with new ideas. Older people as outlined above can make a useful contribution too. These younger people are needed to revitalize and aging community They in turn will remember the vision we held out for them and want to do extend it for their children.
We can do this. We should be doing something like this for our younger generation. And we should be doing it now.