Regional housing funding too little too late

Labor has failed to deliver for regional Western Australia with their housing policy announced by Minister John Carey on the weekend.
Minister Carey announced that the State Government will build just 275 new regional social housing properties over two years.
“Although I welcome the much-needed investment into regional Western Australia, it is too little too late,” said Shadow Minister for Housing, the Hon. Steve Martin MLC.
“The 275 new builds will not cover the shortfall of homes in country WA. With building material shortages around the country, there is no guarantee they will even be completed within two years.”
“In the past four years the Labor Government have sold off over 270 homes from the Government Regional Officer Housing (GROH) Scheme that is used to house police, teachers and other government employees in regional WA. Teachers are living in motels and caravans because of the Labor selloff of GROH homes.
“After forming Government in 2017, Labor have also sold off over 1,300 public homes around the State, while the public housing waitlist has blown out to over 30,000 people.”
Mr Martin said, “with rental vacancy rates at record lows, it’s about time that the Labor Government take responsibility for the housing crisis that they have ignored for far too long.
“Regional towns around Western Australia are bearing the brunt of the housing shortage but have had no support from this Labor Government and have been left to fend for themselves.
“Last month Broome’s rental vacancy rate hit 0.0% again and other towns such as Albany, Bunbury and Karratha all seeing vacancy rates well below 1.0%.”
Western Australia’s rental vacancy rate is currently around 0.9%. A balanced market usually shows a vacancy rate of around 3.5%.
“The Government is purchasing from the private market to prop up the GROH scheme, which is only putting further strain on the already tight housing market.
“I’d also suggest that the Government expedite repair and maintenance works on the hundreds of empty public homes around the State which have been boarded up. There are 130 in Geraldton alone,” said Mr Martin.
“This Government is showing time and time again that they do not care about regional WA.
This latest cash-hit doesn’t go far enough to improve the dire situation that people living in country WA are facing.”