The South Gippsland Shire Council (SGSC) has failed to make sufficient housing land available for the number of people wishing to live in the shire.

This especially impacts those on social housing. The advent of COVID has seen many people relocating to our shire and this, in turn, displaces those who were previously able to find housing. The available housing stock for rental use has shrunk.

Council structure plans are often over 10 years old.

They were based on low growth rates whereas at present we are experiencing growth rates double those of earlier levels.

Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer a home or land to more people as there is not an adequate quantity of land either zoned or developed, for residential use.

The council is supposed to ensure a 15-year supply is available.

This means the shire will miss out on the opportunity to gain a substantial boost in population and hence rate revenue. The growth rates have been taken from Appendix 1 – Gippsland Regional Plan, adopted by council in September 2021:
• 2019 population: 28,934;
• 2036 population at 1.133 per cent growth: 36,220; and
• 2036 population at 2.66 per cent growth: 45,209.

Around 10,000 extra people could move to our shire if the recent boost in growth was to be accommodated. That would be an extra $10 million in rate revenue we will miss.

If we are constrained to minor incremental growth our population by 2036 – just 15 years from now – will be as above (36,220). At the same time, Bass Coast will grow to 46,500 or at the higher rate it would be 56,750.

These low population numbers mean we miss out on items our neighbours can support.

We miss out on a hospital with a full range of services and a fully staffed emergency department. We will have difficulty to support a performing arts facility. We will miss out on a 24/7 local police service – in general we are not considered as significant as our more populous neighbours.

The low population also means we miss out on commercial opportunities. The major retailers or second-tier operations also consider the numbers are not adequate. The lack of growth means fewer local jobs.

We have the capacity to allow for a great boost in our accommodation stock. We just need to have the shire make an urgent effort to plan for that growth.

Lindsay Love, Leongatha.