WA’s housing crisis demands bold and creative solutions
Greens national housing spokesperson Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam, state housing spokesperson Lynn MacLaren MLC. 24 April 2013.
The Barnett Government is virtually ignoring the state’s housing crisis, Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam warned today as new figures showed another surge in house prices and rents were tipped to double in almost 200 WA suburbs.
“The mining boom has driven up the cost of living, driven up the cost of housing, flattened trade-exposed industries, and attracted significant numbers of people to the State, yet the Barnett Government blissfully ignores the housing crisis gripping Western Australia,” said Senator Ludlam.
“Yesterday RP Data predicted that rents would double in 181 Western Australian suburbs in the next ten years, and house prices to double in hundreds of suburbs nationwide. While January, February and March saw a 1.7 per cent rise in the national median house price, the spike in Western Australia in recent months has been particularly severe – yet the major parties barely made mention of the housing crisis during the State election.
“The Housing Crisis Committee reports families sleeping in their cars, families splitting up to sleep at the homes of friends or relatives – families where there are one or two income earners but they still can’t afford a place to live. The median weekly rent in Perth is almost $500 and the minimum weekly adult wage is less than $600 – the weight of those numbers is crushing people.”
Senator Ludlam championed the Greens’ Convert To Rent programme as a way to transform the thousands of empty properties in Western Australia into affordable rental housing.
“The State Government won’t conduct an audit of vacant properties in WA but if the vacancy rate in Perth is the same as Melbourne’s – 4.94 per cent – that would mean about 30,000 properties lying vacant while 50,000 people are on the waiting list for public housing. Convert To Rent would offer grants to owners to make those empty properties available at 80 per cent of the market rent.”
Greens WA housing spokesperson Lynn MacLaren MLC promoted urban planning reform to solve the state’s housing crisis without a frenzy of expensive urban sprawl.
“The report produced by The Greens, The Property Council and the Australian Urban Design Research Centre – Transforming Perth – identifies the opportunity to build 250,000 new homes within the metro area by turning just seven of the city’s transport corridors into vibrant mixed-use high streets,” said Ms MacLaren.
“The State Government’s promise to build 20,000 homes by 2020 is a start but only a drop in the ocean while there are already 50,000 people in the public housing queue, and by 2020 the population of the state will be far bigger and demand far stronger. We need to get more affordable housing on the market now – this year – and that will take new ideas and the political will to get the job done,” Ms MacLaren concluded.
Convert To Rent – http://greens.org.au/files/Convert_to_rent.pdf
Transforming Perth – http://greenswa.net.au/sites/default/files/transformingperth.pdf
Contacts: Giovanni Torre – 0417 174 302