The McGowan Labor Government’s go-slow approach to social housing is having a dire impact on homelessness in the State, according to the Opposition.
“New figures revealed today showing that two homeless people died every week last year are staggering,” Shadow Prevention of Family Violence and Child Protection Minister Libby Mettam said.
“In a State as prosperous as WA, for 107 people experiencing homelessness to die is a shocking indictment on this government’s lack of commitment to supporting our most vulnerable.”
Ms Mettam said it was astounding that three years after securing the site for its so-called flagship homelessness project, East Perth Common Ground, the McGowan Government was yet to even secure a tender.
“This project should have been almost completed, yet it remains nothing more than a patch of dirt.” Ms Mettam said with hundreds of people sleeping rough in Perth, the project which will include more than 100 units, should have been prioritised and fast-tracked.
“The project has now gone out to tender for the second time, but we are still no closer to knowing when it will start, let alone be completed and open.”
“This government is there for the photo op, not for the follow up when it comes to delivering for WA.”
Ms Mettam said Labor had also dropped the ball when it comes to social housing, with 300 less social housing properties now than in 2017.
“At a time when the McGowan Government has reported more than $11 billion in surpluses over two years, it is staggering that we have gone backward in providing critical services for those Western Australians most in need.”
Shadow Housing Minister Steve Martin said if the government was serious about helping people who are experiencing homelessness, they need to drastically increase the number of people they are placing in public housing.
“This Government have been tearing down housing and failing to maintain properties faster than they have been replacing them,” Shadow Housing Minister Steve Martin said.
“The number of social housing properties is lower than it was when Labor came into government and the waitlist has been growing every year since.
“Of the 9,000 people on the priority waitlist, most will be waiting over two years for a home. For those remaining 25,000 on the general waitlist, the wait is often double that.
“After six years of Labor, it’s clear we are worse off with less social housing, a skyrocketing waitlist and increasing homelessness.