Liberals call for emergency summit with home building sector stakeholders

WA Liberal Leader Libby Mettam and Shadow Minister for Housing Steve Martin are calling on Premier Mark McGowan to convene an emergency summit of all stakeholders in the WA building sector in a bid to chart a way through the unprecedented challenges facing the sector.

Ms Mettam said she was deeply concerned about the future of the home building sector in Western Australia.

“When we have new building approvals at near record low levels, severe skilled labour shortages, a critical housing shortage, rising costs, rising interest rates and the State’s biggest home builder announcing it will not be writing new contracts, we have a crisis,” Ms Mettam said.

“We welcomed the Government’s announcement this week of a joint working committee to look at industry reform, however this committee was convened only to look at Government building contracts and only non-residential projects; not nearly the scope the sector desperately needs.”

Ms Mettam said the summit needs to bring together representatives from across the building and construction industry, housing advocates, local government representatives, consumer groups and other key stakeholders to identify practical solutions to the challenges facing the sector.

“To date, Premier McGowan’s only response to the crisis has been to tell people how lucky they are to live in a state with such a booming economy,” she said.

“There are a lot of people out there who are homeless, or bunked in with relatives, or living in their cars,or have seen their rents soar, or have been waiting years for their house to be built, or can’t ever see themselves owning a home who don’t feel very lucky.

“The current constraints on the sector have the potential to impact the affordability and availability of housing in Western Australia for decades to come, this is a critical issue for all Western Australians.”

Shadow Housing Minister Steve Martin said it was time the McGowan Government listened to all players in the building sector to understand their experiences and what could be done to support them and, most importantly, to keep roofs over the heads of Western Australians.

“A summit would give an opportunity for the Government to meet collectively with all sector stakeholders and not only fully understand the extent and nature of the crisis but also hear any innovative ideas on how the sector can work through the current challenges,” he said.