Shipping container housing laws brought in to add housing for homeless

The shipping container used as housing at Birralee, near Deloraine.
The shipping container used as housing at Birralee, near Deloraine.

Councils now have the power to approve shipping containers as temporary housing, but the laws are not retrospective and only apply to land controlled by Housing Tasmania and recognised housing support providers.

The state government issued the planning directive on Wednesday in order for 18 new units for men to be added at Bethlehem House in Hobart, and 17 units for women at Hobart's Women's Shelter.

Some of the units would be delivered by shipping container company Royal Wolf, while the others were existing houses with the University of Tasmania.

The interim planning directive allows a permit for 12 months before an assessment takes place.

Because they live on private land, the laws would not help a Birralee family which had been issued a bill for thousands of dollars by Meander Valley Council for living in a shipping container without a permit for four years.

It was unclear whether other councils would seek to approve shipping containers and other temporary housing during the planning directive's 12-month period.

Tasmanian councils can now approve shipping containers as temporary housing, subject to a range of conditions.

Tasmanian councils can now approve shipping containers as temporary housing, subject to a range of conditions.

Housing Minister Roger Jaensch said it was part of a suite of measures aimed at increasing the availability of emergency housing.

"Under this directive, councils will be able to permit temporary units on the same site, or site adjoining, existing facility or operated by, or on behalf of, the Director of Housing or a recognised housing support provider," he said.

"This will allow us to provide immediate assistance to more Tasmanians suffering housing stress or homelessness."

The government also formally rezoned 2.4 hectares of land at 49 George Town Road, Newnham, to general residential on Wednesday to provide up to 75 social and affordable homes.

The land rezoned at 49 George Town Road, Newnham.

The land rezoned at 49 George Town Road, Newnham.

The minimum lot sizes for the land, near TasTAFE, was reduced from 500 square metres to 450.

The rezoning was part of the government's fast-tracked residential rezoning plan in response to the Tasmanian housing crisis.

Mr Jaensch said the government was targeting "around 15 per cent" of the lots to be social and affordable housing.

The government has identified a further 38 hectares across six parcels of government-owned land in Launceston deemed "potentially suitable" for fast-tracked residential rezoning.

The plan has encountered criticism from town planning advocates, local residents and a council in relation to the rezoning of 37 hectares of land at Huntingfield, south of Hobart, for more than 450 lots. It allows the rezoning process to bypass councils, however the development application process remains the same.

This story Tasmania introduces shipping container housing laws first appeared on The Examiner.