A north-west Queensland council is capitalising on Australia’s urban property squeeze, offering blocks of land for just $1.

Richmond Shire Council has put up seven 600 square metre blocks of land, recently released by the state government, for an October 6 land grab.

The town is about five hours west of Townsville and has a population of about 700.

Council chief executive officer Michelle Clarke said it was hoped the move would benefit the town by addressing a local skills shortage.

“We’ve decided that we want to help people out for $1 in the hope that in return they will build a home and move to Richmond and maybe offer some skills in the town,” she said.

“Ideally it would be good to get some people with some skills – we don’t have a vet, we don’t have a hairdresser, and we’re always looking for truck drivers and people with trades.”

However, she said locals looking to break into the property market for the first time and retirees were also welcome to apply.

Clarke said the town boasted Lake Fred Tritton – popular for swimming, fishing and waterskiing – and a relaxed lifestyle.

To apply for the land grab, interested parties must have less than $500,000 in combined assets and pre-approval from a bank to build a home. They must complete the dwelling within two years and occupy the residence for at least a year.

Applicants will go into a raffle for the seven blocks, to be drawn at noon on October 6.

All blocks have sealed road frontages, with power, water and sewerage connections available.

For more information go to the Richmond Shire Council.