The Cook Labor Government has announced its answer to the worst housing crisis to hit Western Australia in decades is to hire another $200,000-a year bureaucrat.
Labor’s newest initiative is to advertise for a $218,000-a-year Director for its Housing Supply Unit, says Shadow Housing Minister Steve Martin.
“It’s clear the Government has been desperate for an announcement on housing supply, so the Treasurer ripped it from the Housing Minister’s hands and announced she’d create a new bureaucratic committee and call it the Housing Supply Unit,” he said.
“More public servants, but no answer for the record low rental vacancy rates and the growing social housing wait list that now has 34,117 Western Australians waiting an average of 135 weeks, in the metro area, for a home.
“And this crack team of bureaucrats won’t meet until next year. Where is the urgency from any Minister in the Cook Government?”
The Opposition is questioning the need for the new committee, arguing there are already numerous bodies within and outside the public service that could provide the State Government with advice on housing supply.
“The are endless existing sources of advice the Cook Government could turn to that are funded and ready to go,” Mr Martin said.
“Individual industry groups are constantly trying to talk to the Government about this, then there’s the Housing Industry Forecasting Group, DevelopmentWA, the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, the Department of Communities, work that is done out of Treasury and even Building and Energy in Commerce.
“The Treasurer also has the power to instruct the Economic Regulation Authority to conduct an independent inquiry into housing supply.”
Mr Martin also said it was still unclear how the HSU would lobby the Commonwealth for federal funds any more effectively than the existing bodies.
“We’ve got the Cook Labor Government hiring more bureaucrats on good money to lobby their own federal colleagues,” he said.
“Why can’t Housing Minister John Carey just pick up the phone and what is the point of the WA Embassy in Canberra they announced, if not for this?
“After almost seven years of Labor the best they can do is a new committee.”