Housing shortage looms in booming Bathurst

The regional NSW town of Bathurst is struggling to keep up with providing homes for its booming population.

According to Bathurst Regional Council’s 2018 Housing Strategy, the town is equipped to house just over 55,000 people by 2041. But the council expects over 58,000 people to be living in Bathurst by then, meaning three thousand people will have nowhere to call home.


Bathurst Regional Councillor, Jess Jennings says one of the fundamental problems is that the NSW Government has grossly under-estimated the projected growth in Bathurst’s population.

“As a result, they haven’t been on top of the infrastructure increases needed to support that growing population,“ he says.

A major piece of infrastructure being impacted is one of the town’s main thoroughfares, the Hereford Street Bridge, which is subject to closure every time the Macquarie/Wambuul River floods.

Councillor Margaret Hogan believes the Hereford Street corridor needs to be improved if Bathurst is going to adequately service the growing population and that the state of Bathurst’s roads in general will be an ongoing issue regardless of population size.

“It’s like painting the Harbour Bridge. You start at one end and when you’re finished you have to go back and do it again,” she says.


A housing plan on steroids

In order to combat deficiencies in its 2018 Housing Strategy, Cr Jennings believes Bathurst Regional Council needs to mimic fellow regional town centre Dubbo and build upwards.

“Council needs to put its housing plan on steroids and identify where two to three-storey housing can be built,” he says.

While Bathurst is set to increase by around 15,000 people in the next twenty years and Dubbo is expected to increase by only 11,000, Dubbo Regional Council has developed a housing roadmap to guide the town’s short-term and long-term housing initiatives.

Councillors Hogan and Jennings are hoping Bathurst will follow its lead, so when people move to the town they will have somewhere to live.