22 May 2024

The Central Highlands is taking a creative approach to boosting its housing supply.

Expressions of Interest (EOI) have opened for Build 12 in 12, a campaign to get a dozen new homes constructed inside 12 months.

The idea is to work with the construction industry to devise incentives to help push through barriers, such as high costs and labour shortages, that have contributed to a slowdown in new builds in the region.

The Central Highlands Development Corporation (CHDC) is facilitating the project in collaboration with industry, community and government.

“Our research has found Emerald needs 236 new dwellings to meet current growth and that rental vacancies across the region are extremely low,” CHDC CEO Peter Dowling says.

“By stimulating construction activity locally, we hope Build 12 in 12 is going to serve as a starting point towards tackling that housing issue.”

The EOI process is getting the ball rolling by inviting builders and developers to register their interest in being involved and to share their expert insights and ideas.

“This is about bringing to the table those with on-the-ground knowledge and proven capability to tell us what incentives and conditions are required to make the sector look to our region to invest and, in particular, construct,” Mr Dowling says.

Locally-based builders and developers are especially encouraged to make a submission.

“We are also very keen to hear from builders who are adopting cutting-edge modern methods of construction, such as factory-built modules that bypass many of the barriers found in traditional builds.”

Endorsing the Build 12 in 12 EOI was the first task of the new Workforce and Accommodation Collective (WAC), which comprises mining, education, health, real estate, agriculture and local government representatives.

The WAC and Build 12 in 12 are part of the Central Highlands Workforce Development and Accommodation Strategy, launched last month to address the region’s barriers to attracting and retaining skilled workers.

The WAC will meet monthly to ensure the ongoing implementation of the WDAS.

The EOI is open until 15 June 2024.

More information can be found at

At the inaugural WAC meeting were Kate Isles (Infinitum Partners), Marsha Abbott (Central Highlands Hospital and Health Service), Leisa Donlan (Central Highlands Regional Council [CHRC]), Sharyn Larsen (Kestrel Coal Resources), Joy Fernie (Fernie Real Estate), Annette Smith (Acumentis), Jenny Finlay (Borilla Community Kindergarten), Councillor Gai Sypher (CHRC and CHDC), Luke Padovan (Coronado), and Peter Dowling (CHDC). Not pictured but attended online: Amy Church (Kestrel Coal Resources), Mark Dunning (Costa 2PH), Michael Solomon (Glencore), Monique Evans (Regional Schools Industry Partnership, Education Queensland), Bruce Campbell (QBuild).