Urgent action needed to address affordable housing crisis

Hon Lynn MacLaren MLC, the WA Greens spokesperson on Housing, has accused the WA Government of turning its back on low income families, after an Anglicare report released today revealed that affordable housing is practically non-existent in either Perth or in major regional centres. The report follows the WA Government’s recent rejection of a proposal to construct 3550 homes for low income earners under the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS), claiming that there was ‘no demonstrated need for the proposal’.

Ms MacLaren said “Anglicare’s report demonstrates that we are facing an affordable housing crisis. The cost of rentals, coupled with the rising costs of living, is driving homelessness in WA.”
“It’s appalling that the Government is currently turning down proposals for the construction of affordable housing - claiming that there is no need - when there is clear evidence to the contrary,” added Ms MacLaren.

The WA Government recently rejected a proposal by Westridge Australia and Providence Housing to construct 3550 homes for low income earners. The project would have provided low cost dwellings in several areas which were all identified as unaffordable for key workers (such as police, teachers, nurses, fire fighters and ambulance officers) in a recent Bankwest Key Worker Housing Affordability Report, namely:

Cockburn - 500 dwellings;
Stirling - 500 dwellings;
Midvale (Swan LGA) - 350 dwellings;
Alkimos (Wanneroo LGA) - 500 dwellings;
Murdoch (Melville LGA) - 700 dwellings.
The knock-back also included proposed schemes for:

Wungong (Armadale LGA)- 500 dwellings;
Wellard (Kwinana LGA)- 500 dwellings
Today’s Anglicare Australia Rental Affordability Snapshot report assessed data from 2629 private rental advertisements collected on 9th April from the greater Perth Metropolitan area, Albany, Bunbury, Karratha, Broome, Derby and Kununurra. The advertisements were analysed to see if rental properties were affordable and suitable for people living with low incomes. Properties were deemed unaffordable if they cost more than 30 per cent of a person’s income. The report found just 12 suitable properties available to people on low incomes - less than 0.5% of the total number of rentals listed in those areas.

“The Government has had its head in the sand on this issue for too long. Urgent action is needed to tackle our growing housing affordability crisis. Everyone deserves the right to have a home,” concluded Ms MacLaren.