Shadow Minister for Housing and Works John McGrath said that the State Government will be caught seriously short with today’s launch of the National Rental Affordability Scheme.
“WA’s Labor Government has again failed to plan for the future of our housing market,” Mr McGrath said.
The National Rental Affordability Scheme will see Commonwealth and State and Territory governments providing incentives (cash or in kind) to develop low income rental accommodation. It is anticipated that 50,000 new rental properties will be produced by 2012 at an estimated cost of $622 million.
The Western Australian Government is earmarked to contribute $2,000 in cash and “may consider land or services to the equivalent value” to match the Commonwealth contribution of $6,000 for a period of 10 years per dwelling.
“The Carpenter Government has not set anything aside for this project despite the scheme being part of Kevin Rudd’s election commitments and despite the 2008/09 Federal Budget containing just over $13 million for the scheme,” Mr McGrath said,
“When I asked the WA Minister for Housing and Works about the proposal in May, I was told that ‘there had been no allocation’ despite the Government having every ‘intention of participating in the scheme.
“The aim has always been to make the first call for expressions of interest in June this year and the Federal Housing Minister confirmed today that she wanted 3,500 incentives allocated in 2008-09.
“This is typical of the Carpenter Government’s record with housing, which in no small way has led to the staggering increase in average weekly rents.
“Even a state like Queensland, which is going through a similar boom to WA, has not experienced the same rent spike in the last 12 months.
Recent data showed that rentals in WA soared by up to 25% in the last year, which well exceeded the growth in other Australian jurisdictions.
“The WA Government has failed to release enough land to meet WA’s growing population and resulted in a serious shortage of properties to buy or rent resulting in an affordability crisis,” Mr McGrath said,
“The WA has now failed to prepare adequately for a project that they knew was in the pipeline that was designed to address this crisis.
“We knew this scheme was coming, we knew that it would entail financial investment from the states,” Mr McGrath said, “and yet, the Carpenter Government has again been caught offguard.”