Developing a 20-year Tasmanian Housing Strategy was a “daunting” prospect but a “terrific opportunity”, says the man leading the team developing the long-term vision.

Brad Kelly

Brad Kelly with a copy of the Tasmanian Housing Strategy draft exposure.

Brad Kelly grew up on the State’s North-West Coast and completed his university degree in Hobart before leaving for Melbourne at the start of 2003.

After nearly 18 years away, the lure of a return to his home State proved too strong and once the borders reopened after the COVID-19 lockdowns, Brad, his wife and their two children boarded the Spirit of Tasmania to return to the open expanses of the North-West.

“We always assumed we’d come back to Tassie to live once we had kids, but there was no timeline on it. COVID certainly accelerated the move after not being able to travel to see family and friends. It’s a lifestyle that we were keen to provide for our boys when contrasted with the constant hustle and bustle of inner-city Melbourne,” Brad said.

“I’d spent over 14 years with [Victoria’s] Department of Justice and Community Safety, most of which was in the adult corrections system, so when we came back to Tassie, I was looking for a new challenge.

“When I saw the role of project manager for the Tasmanian Housing Strategy advertised, and given the context of the housing challenges we currently face here and right across the country, it looked like a terrific opportunity.

“I don’t think there’s been a more important time to have a coordinated, whole-of-housing-system strategy to try to address the challenges we’re currently facing.”

Brad believes having such a long-term vision is incredibly important for delivering the housing outcomes Tasmania needs, but acknowledges that it can’t all be set in stone.

“Given we are delivering a Strategy that will guide governments for the next 20 years, it’s critical to provide clear policy directions so everyone knows what the priorities are and how we propose to go about delivering on them,” he said.

“If you look back on the market in Tasmania 20 years ago and think about how much things have changed in that time, it’s important the Strategy includes the agility and flexibility to adapt and respond differently as needed.

“When you stand back and think about the enormity of the challenge, it can be a little daunting – there is definitely pressure to ‘get it right’. The reality is the housing system has enormous breadth and is incredibly complex with so many interdependent parts, and experts have been trying to make positive impacts for a long time.”

And what of the housing future for his children’s generation and the generations to follow?

“First and foremost, I want to them to have the option of secure and stable accommodation in whatever form that might take,” he said.

“It would be great if they were in a position to buy a house when they get to that point in their lives, but given it is becoming increasingly out of reach for young people, let alone for many families on dual incomes, it’s scary to think what things might look like in 20 years if we don’t make some significant changes to halt the current trajectory.”

HAVE YOUR SAY: You are invited to provide feedback on the draft Tasmanian Housing Strategy by visiting Submissions close at 5pm on Monday, 3 July 2023.

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