Money & Banking
Queensland town GIVING AWAY land
A Queensland town has started a new scheme that has been practically giving away free blocks of land, as long as aspiring property owners meet one requirement.
The outback town of Quilpie, which lies 1000 km west of Brisbane, has a population of just 800 people and is looking to expand.
Quilpie Shire Council has started offering $12,500 grants to anyone who buys a block of land and builds a home on it valued at less than $750,000, which they must also live in for six months.
With some blocks selling for $12,500, homeowners can essentially receive the land for free.
As well as being known for opal mining and dinosaur bones, the area is home to two supermarkets, a butcher and baker, several newsagents and hairdressers, two schools, and an early learning centre.
Though the town is in dire need for people to fill vacancies for roles including teaching and nursing, the area doesn’t have enough homes for people to move into.
Image: Quilpie Shire Council
When Quilpie Shire Council CEO Justin Hancock first moved into the area, he spent six months living in a retirement village.
The 30-year-old has now lived in the town for eight months, and wanted to do something about the lack of housing.
“I made some great friends at the retirement village, and still drop by for a cuppa with some of the lovely residents, but it wasn’t the ideal place for me to live, regardless of how lovely the villa was,” he said.
With the new financial scheme, Mr Hancock said “you would be hard-pressed to find a better deal anywhere in Australia”.
“If you’re looking to retire and need an affordable home base for travel, or you’re a young person starting out in your career and getting a foot in the property ladder, you would be hard-pressed to find a better deal anywhere in Australia. Depending on the cost of the land chosen, it can equate to us essentially giving land away,” he said.
“We have over 10 job vacancies in Quilpie at the moment that we’re hoping will attract some new younger residents to live out here and the younger demographic won’t want to live in a retirement village.”
Mr Hancock also noted that there would be the opportunity to establish a new business in town, and that there would be more tourism roles available next year.
Tessa McDougall, 24, and Tom Hennessy, 23, have already taken up the offer to become first-home buyers, with Tessa taking up a teaching role and Tom working as a technical officer for the council.
“There’s probably not a lot of people our age who are getting into the property market - but it’s so affordable in Quilpie, and even more so with this great land grant, and we’re confident it’s going to be a great investment for our future,” Mr Hennessy said.
“We’re also hopeful that other young people will look at the job opportunities out here along with these great property deals and make the move to Quilpie. It’s a great lifestyle and small town vibe, there’s no crime and everyone is pretty laid back. And Covid really hasn’t touched Western Queensland.”
In addition to encouraging newcomers to purchase land, the council is also redeveloping Quilpie’s depot into 40 townhouse villas.
Image: Getty Images