Housing in the Shire of Broome

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The Shire of Broome is acutely aware that a shortage of rental properties and accommodation options in our town is adding undue stress to residents and visitors – and is committed to being part of the solution.

As a local government, the Shire has a limited role to play in relation to housing but wants to be part of a collaborative effort to rectify the situation.

As such, the Shire has orchestrated and chaired a monthly housing roundtable meeting with relevant stakeholders, with the first meeting taking place in April.

Participants included representatives from Development WA, the Kimberley Development Commission, Nyamba Buru Yawuru, Department of Communities, Foundation Housing, and the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage.

This page is designed to update the community on the group’s progress and provide information for community members and visitors who are having issues with accommodation or housing.

If you have a question that is not covered here, please e-mail shire@broome.wa.gov.au.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why is Broome struggling with a rental shortage?

A. Communities across Australia are dealing with housing issues such as a lack of available rental properties, largely due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions and the return of Australian citizens from overseas. The feedback the Shire has garnered from housing authorities is that this situation has been building over recent years and has now come to a head.

Q. What role does the Shire play in the provision of housing?

A. As a local government, the Shire has a limited role to play in relation to housing. The Shire assesses and can approve building applications and has the power to change the zoning of Shire-owned land to residential, should a suitable proponent put forward a proposal. The Shire also has a role to play in relation to camping and caravan parks, as per the next question.

Q. What has the Shire done to help in relation to temporary accommodation?

A. The Shire has made changes to its temporary accommodation policies and will embark on a new four-week trial in response to the current housing shortage and imminent peak dry season period. The Shire’s Operation of Temporary Caravan and Camping Facilities policy, which will govern about 127 sites across three facilities in 2021, has been reviewed to offer more flexibility to guests and provide support to the caravan park proprietors. The second policy to be reviewed was the Approval to Camp for up to 3 months in Areas other than Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds. The changes have made it easier to obtain approval while the impacts of the housing crisis are being felt. Ministerial approval is still required for periods of 3 -12 months and support by the Shire will be assessed on a case-by-case basis under the revised policy. Finally, a temporary four-week trial of overnight camping by travellers in self-contained caravans or recreational vehicles in Cable Beach Surf Club carpark will commence when permanent caravan parks near capacity. The date for commencement has not been set but will align closely with the opening of the overflow caravan parks. This will allow conditional free camping in the southern section of the Cable Beach Surf Club carpark for a maximum of three nights. Camping hours will be 5pm to 7am, with the potential for the trial to be reduced or extended as required.

Q. Can the old Kimberley Klub backpackers on Frederick Street, which is being transformed into the Lions Eye Institute, be used for short-term accommodation?

A. This is not an option as the facility is in the process of being converted to be used by the Lions Eye Institute.

Q. Could Broome Camp School house temporary visitors?

A. The Department of Education has been consulted and due to the design and planned use of the facility, there is no opportunity for it to be used for short-term accommodation at this time.

Q. What caravan parks are available in Broome?

A.

  • Discovery Parks – Broome / Roebuck Bay Caravan Park (9192 1366) is based at 91 Walcott Street.
  • Broome Vacation Village Caravan Park (9192 1057) is based at 122 Port Drive.
  • Broome Caravan Park (9192 1776) is based at 14 Wattle Drive.
  • Cable Beach Caravan Park (9192 2066) is based at 8 Millington Road.
  • Tarangau Caravan Park (9193 5084) is based at 16 Millington Road.
  • RAC Cable Beach Holiday Park (9192 3336) is based at 1 Murray Road.

Q. Are there other caravan parks on the outskirts of Broome?

A.

  • Broome’s Gateway Caravan Park and Lodge (0437 525 485) is based at 3000 Broome Road, and is roughly 30km from Broome town centre.
  • Camping is available at Roebuck Plains Roadhouse (9192 1880), and is roughly 38km from Broome town centre.

Q. Is there short-term accommodation available in Broome specifically for Aboriginal people?

A. Aboriginal Hostels Limited, based at 52 Forrest Street, provides accommodation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people travelling away from home for medical purposes. They can be reached on 9192 6052. The Broome Aboriginal Short Stay Accommodation facility is run by MercyCare and is based at 8 Dickson Drive - they can be reached on 6151 1970.

Q. Is there short-term accommodation available in Broome specifically for young people?

A. Broome Youth Accommodation Services support youth between 16-25 years who are homeless or at risk of homelessness into support accommodation. BYAS has a partnership agreement with the Department of Housing and can be reached on 9193 7100.

Q. How many new houses have the Shire approved in the 2020-21 financial year?

A. The Shire's statistics show that development applications for 68 new homes have been approved in the 2020-21 financial year, with 11 approved in May 2021 alone.

Q. Is there a shortage of land for people to build new homes on?

A. No, land availability in Broome is relatively abundant and the Shire would encourage applications from residents looking to build new homes and development organisations with proposals.

General queries

Q. How do I apply for public housing?

A. To be eligible for public housing you must meet the Department of Communities' eligibility criteria at the time of making an application, while waiting for a house and before an offer is made. If you believe you meet the eligibility criteria, you can lodge an application for public rental accommodation at their office at 30 Frederick Street in Broome.

Q. What is the criteria to be eligible for public housing?

A. The Department of Communities assesses public housing applications – you can view their criteria for applicants here.

Q. Does the State Government offer Residential Rent Relief?

A. The Residential Rent Relief Grant Scheme, introduced in 2020, has expanded to offer future rent support for tenants who are struggling financially to meet rent payments after the end of the emergency period. For more information, click here.

Q. What support services are available if I am at risk of becoming homeless?

A. Centacare Kimberley offers support to people who are homeless, or are highly at risk of becoming homeless in Broome. To contact them, phone 9192 2293 or click here. The WA Department of Communities have a Homeless Helpline – free call 1800 065 892. The housing component of the Department of Communities’ Broome office can be reached on 9158 3600.