Cook Labor Government reheats failed apartment policy

The Cook Labor Government went out with all the fanfare of a marching band today to announce its stamp duty concession policy to encourage Western Australians to buy high-rise apartments had backfired.

Shadow Housing Minister Steve Martin said it had taken the Labor Government two years to realise the policy was in fact creating a roadblock to apartment development.

The Government announced today it would extend the scheme, originally for apartments bought off-the-plan pre-construction, to include apartments currently under construction, after it was revealed just 50 per cent of the $40 million budgeted for the scheme two years ago has been allocated.

“At a time when Western Australia was ramping up to an unprecedented housing crisis the Labor Government introduced a policy that provided a disincentive for construction to begin,” Mr Martin said.

“It took four Ministers, including Minister for Homelessness John Carey, to come out today to announce the reheat of a policy that they admit was in some cases making things worse.”

Mr Martin said the Cook Labor Government needed to do more to ease housing affordability and provide for vulnerable Western Australians at the most difficult end of the housing crisis.

“There was also not one word in the 900-word media release on how they will even make a dent in the number of vulnerable people desperate for a home,” he said.

“Not one social housing dwelling for the 33,943 people on the public housing waitlist.

“Every day, I get messages to my office begging for help, people are in trouble, they’ve run out of options.”

Mr Martin said the failure on housing continued to be felt most keenly in regional WA.

“The Cook Labor Government’s decision to walk away from plans to build Kalbarri Worker’s Accommodation, after promising it in 2021, is yet another failed commitment,” he said.

“The average wait time for public housing is 135 weeks in Perth, 150 weeks in the South West and a shocking 226 weeks in the West Kimberley.”

“The 1,525 people on the waitlist in the West Kimberley face an average wait time of 4.33 years.”