Council takes action on housing crisis

Are you a builder? A business who needs housing for workers? As you know the critical shortage of housing in rural and regional Victoria has reached an alarming level, posing a significant challenge for communities across the state.

Swan Hill Rural City Council faces an especially urgent situation exacerbated by the region's growth in agriculture, manufacturing, education, health, and potential mining jobs and they are calling on the assistance from locals.

Council’s Mayor, Cr Stuart King said despite job opportunities, the housing shortage was impacting individuals' ability to relocate to the area and fill these crucial roles.

“Council recognises the severity of this issue, and as a direct result last year facilitated a forum and gathered approximately 120 community representatives concerned residents. The group not only discussed the pressing challenges but, more importantly, collaborated on potential solutions. The gathering served as a forum for community members to voice their concerns and contribute ideas toward addressing the housing crisis collectively,” Cr King said.

Council’s Director Development and Planning, Michelle Grainger said Council had taken inspiration from the enthusiasm and dedication demonstrated during this forum and was proud to announce the proposal to establish a proactive initiative Housing Action: Greater Swan Hill.

“Housing Action: Greater Swan Hill aims to harness community engagement and foster partnerships between residents, local businesses, government agencies, and stakeholders to address the housing shortage comprehensively.

"This group is a testament to our community's resilience and determination to tackle the housing crisis head-on and we encourage more to join.

“If you are interested in assisting, please consider attending the Greater Swan Hill – Housing forum.

"By joining forces and leveraging the collective expertise and resources of our community, we are confident in our ability to generate innovative solutions that will make a tangible difference in addressing this pressing issue,” Ms Grainger said.

Cr King said the proposed initiative will focus on exploring various strategies to increase housing availability and affordability.

“Through initiatives like Housing Action: Greater Swan Hill, we seek to assemble stakeholders from property, construction, development, education, and infrastructure sectors to work collectively towards addressing the housing shortfall,” Cr King said.

As the proposal for Housing Action: Greater Swan Hill progresses, Council encourages community members, organisations, and stakeholders to actively participate and contribute their insights toward shaping the future of housing in the region.

Housing Summit Success

The Swan Hill Housing Summit has provided a pivotal moment in Council’s moves to address housing challenges in the Swan Hill Region. Over 100 business professionals and engaged community members gathered at a highly successful Housing Summit in Swan Hill, a first crucial step towards finding sustainable solutions to the shortage of housing across the municipality.

Swan Hill Rural City Council’s CEO, Scott Barber said that the summit had been organised to tackle the pressing issues surrounding housing shortages and included insights from well-regarded industry professional including keynote speaker Peter Maddison, award winning architect and Grand Designs presenter.

““While everyone is aware of the housing challenge we all face, it takes a community to work together and deliver solutions. The event was about fostering a collaborative spirit, bringing together diverse perspectives from various sectors to address the multifaceted nature of the housing crisis.

"It was a gathering of minds committed to finding tangible solutions to our community's housing challenges. It was heartening to see over 100 individuals, representing both businesses and community interests, actively participating in this critical dialogue.

“The summit covered a range of topics, including the shortage of affordable housing, the need for diverse housing options, and strategies for sustainable development. Participants engaged in workshops, panel discussions, and networking sessions to foster a comprehensive understanding of the issues at hand,” Mr Barber said.

Mr Barber emphasised that the summit was an essential starting point for us to collectively share ideas, gain a deeper understanding of the opportunities and challenges, and lay the groundwork for planning our way forward.

“The collaboration and dedication displayed by everyone involved in the summit represented the shared commitment to addressing the housing needs of our community,” he said.

Mr Barber said the next step in the process, was the preparation of an outcomes report that would be presented to Council and the broader community.

“This report will sum up the key findings, recommendations, and proposed strategies that emerged from the Housing Summit discussions. The aim is to provide a roadmap for addressing the housing shortage and fostering a more sustainable and inclusive community.

“The success of the Swan Hill Housing Summit reflects the community's collective determination to address housing challenges head-on. Thank you to everyone who contributed and offered to partner with Council and each other to tackle this challenge.

“An outcomes report will serve as a valuable resource for future planning and action, guiding the municipality towards a more robust and resilient housing landscape,” he said.


This November, Swan Hill Rural City Council will host Beyond Bricks & Mortar Housing Summit in a bold move to tackle housing availability and affordability in our municipality.

While Council continues work to develop economic prosperity and employment opportunities across the municipality, a lack of housing availability and affordability is a clear handbrake on both job growth and the development of local industries.

Facilitated by Max Hardy, together with industry specialist – Regional Housing Victoria, the Beyond Bricks & Mortar Housing Summit aims to foster collaboration, share innovative ideas and explore strategies to provide affordable, sustainable and inclusive housing solutions with a particular focus on an emerging workforce for the Swan Hill Region.

The summit will bring together our local business owners, housing experts, industry leaders and local, state and federal government representatives to find some creative solutions.

Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from a range of expert speakers, as well as actively participate in break-out groups.

Beyond Bricks & Mortar Housing Summit will run on Monday, 20 November 2023 from 7.30am to 1pm, at the Swan Hill Town Hall.

If you are interested in attending, or for more information, please contact Council’s Economic Development Unit on 03 5036 2333. Alternatively, you may leave your comments in the comments section.