NSW Gov rejects proposal for transitional housing at Kew

Community at 3 co-chairman Theo Hazelgrove was left disappointed by last week’s parliamentary debate.

A PETITION calling on the NSW Government to support the purchase of a decommissioned motel at Kew to serve as transitional accommodation for the homeless was debated in Parliament last week, with local supporters of the project left disappointed by the outcome.

Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams tabled the petition on behalf of the community, which has been led by local homelessness service Community at 3.

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The petition sought government funding to purchase the five-acre Country Pines Motel at Kew from the current owners, to be repurposed as transitional accommodation for people experiencing homelessness.

It is proposed the motel could initially house 30 people, and then up to 100, with extensive services offered on-site.

Over 12,000 people signed the petition in support.

In her address to Parliament, Ms Williams spoke of the urgent need for housing issues to be addressed locally.

“In the Port Macquarie-Hastings and Camden Haven regions alone, we know that over 700 people are on the general housing list with some 161 registered for priority housing,” she said.

“Some reside in temporary motel accommodation, others couch‑surf and the rest, sadly, are rough sleepers.”

Shadow Assistant Minister for Housing Rory Amon told Parliament the proposal represented a “very good use of funds”.

“The Government has been told it will need $2.25 million to purchase the property.

“It is proposed in this petition that for $2.25 million per year, 30 dwellings could be provided at a cost of $75,000 per dwelling or 100 dwellings provided at a cost of $22,000 per dwelling.”

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully, responding to the petition on behalf of the NSW Government, said while he appreciated “the spirit of this community endeavour”, Homes NSW was “not able to consider the proposal to purchase a motel for transitional housing at this time”.

“Some of the reasons include that substantial work would be needed to upgrade the property and meet the current certification, fire and housing standards required to make the property suitable,” Mr Scully told Parliament.

“And, whilst there is a bus stop nearby, the motel is on the outskirts of Laurieton-North Haven, a long distance from larger Port Macquarie, and has limited access to educational, health and other amenities.”

Ms Williams then offered Mr Scully and the NSW Government a “geography lesson” on the Camden Haven region.

“There seems to be some confusion from those opposite,” she said.

“Camden Haven and Kew are about 32 kilometres from Port Macquarie.

“It is a completely different community to Port Macquarie so I am not sure why that was put up as the excuse.”

The local MP also reiterated the level of community support for the project.

“The community is already on board,” she said.

“People are already lining up to support the community to bring the decommissioned motel up to standard.

“It might need a bit of paint and some carpet but all of those things have already been committed to by the local community and the local tradies.”

Ahead of last week’s debate, Minister for Housing Rose Jackson told NOTA she is “acutely aware of the scale of the housing and homelessness crisis” in the Camden Haven region, and agreed on the urgent need for short-term accommodation.

However, she claims to have been advised the proposed site is “not considered suitable for social housing” due to zoning issues.

Community at 3 co-chairman Theo Hazelgrove said comments from Ms Jackson and other Labor ministers suggest they are “not fully across the proposal”.

“I was disappointed in the fact that it appears the Government wasn’t across what we were all about, particularly hearing Rose Jackson’s comments and others’ comments that the location isn’t suitable – that it isn’t near a bus stop or facilities.

“I felt if Rose Jackson was properly across it, she would have a better idea and make a more positive final judgement.”

Mr Hazelgrove indicated the motel’s owners are willing to hold the property while attempts are made to raise funds within the community.

The proposal has also had significant support from the Catholic Church, with the Diocese of Lismore promising $150,000 towards the “operational costs of the centre”.

“It hasn’t died in our minds,” Mr Hazelgrove said.

“Hopefully the Government might reconsider.

“What I would like them to do is to come and have a look at the property.

“We can save the government a lot of money in the future with this small investment.”

Mr Hazelgrove said demand for transitional and short-term accommodation in Camden Haven is rapidly on the rise.

“Currently there are 85 homeless people on our books, but there are more out there,” Mr Hazelgrove said.

“About 31 are in cars.

“An average of two [homeless people] a week come into our area from other areas.

“In the last six months there has been a 25 percent increase.”

Local services say they are witnessing a “new level of homelessness” in recent months due to systemic housing issues and the cost-of-living.

To get involved with Community at 3’s proposal to purchase the motel, contact Theo Hazelgrove on 0438 358 057.


The NSW Government says the decommissioned motel at Kew is too far from transport links and other amenities.

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