New data shows WA home builds have returned to pre stimulus levels

Figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show new building starts in Western Australia have returned to the same level as June 2020 when the McGowan Government super-charged the sector with its pandemic stimulus package.

ABS figures show that in June 2020, when the McGowan stimulus package was released, there were 1041 new home starts in WA, in January this year there were 1050 new starts.

Liberal Leader Libby Mettam said the figures reinforced the absurdity of the Premier’s ignorant claim that the stimulus package had nothing to do with the current crisis facing WA’s building and housing sector.

“The additional $444 million stimulus package provided by the McGowan Labor Government saw approvals increase by 96 per cent at a time when the borders were closed affecting access to both skilled workers and materials – this had a massive impact on the construction sector.” Ms Mettam said.

“With major builders now telling us they will stop signing up new starts, it is difficult to think these figures are not going to slump even further,” Ms Mettam said.

The Premier’s advice to new home buyers sinking under the impact of building delays to simply “claim it on insurance” showed how totally out of touch he was with the issue.

“Saving up for and buying a new home is an exciting period in any persons life. However, Western Australians are now faced with lengthy delays to get into their new build, and increased mortgages on the back of higher interest rates than when they first looked to buy and build.

“The Premier has been telling us how great his Government was for introducing insurance reforms to help these people – the reality is that most of the homes currently under construction are not covered by those reforms,” Ms Mettam said.

The Shadow Minister for Housing the Hon Steve Martin also added “only 4,510 dwellings have been approved since these insurance reforms were implemented in October last year.

“Those reforms should have been in place long before the Premier decided to super-heat the housing construction industry in 2020 with an enhanced stimulus package. To create an issue of this magnitude and then provide a reform package after builders begin to close is completely irresponsible.

“We’ve got builders going under, a rental affordability and availability crisis, and intense cost of living pressures impacting Western Australians – yet the Premier tells us it’s an economic success story.

“The Premier has his head in the sand if he thinks that Western Australians struggling to keep a roof over their heads is a sign of success.”