Carpenter Government has failed housing in WA

The Housing Industry Association has confirmed the concerns of the Shadow Minister for Housing and Works Mr John McGrath about the ability of the Carpenter Government to manage housing in WA.

The HIA’s publications this week reveal ongoing problems in WA’s housing market including:

  • New housing starts are unlikely to improve until 2009/10 (HIA WA State Outlook);
  • A continued shortage of skilled labour despite a fall in building activity (HIA-Austral Bricks Trades Report); and
  • Interest rates and construction costs are contributing to the ‘widening gap between the level of new housing required and the volume of new stock actually being built (HIA WA State Outlook).

“The Carpenter Government has led Western Australians into a precarious position when it comes to housing,” Mr McGrath said, “and the availability and affordability of housing continues to worsen because of their poor planning.”

Only four weeks ago the Government was patting itself on the back for ‘leading the nation’ and being ‘at the forefront of housing affordability’.[1] At that time, Michelle Roberts, the Minister for Housing and Works, said it wasn’t a surprise that houses had become less affordable given the significant population growth.[2]

The current Government has received warnings about the issues that need addressing, including early notice about pending land shortages. However, they have continued to leave these issues unchecked.

Mr McGrath said that it would appear that the current Government, by their very inaction, were fait accompli about this problem.

“Among other things: land release and extensive delays in development approvals have contributed to the housing problem,” Mr McGrath said,

“Both of these are issues that the industry has identified as requiring urgent review, yet the Government hasn’t responded.”

Mr McGrath called for change to how housing problems were addressed, particularly improving the utilisation of expert industry advice by state departments.

“The Government’s detrimental contribution to housing availability and affordability cannot be overlooked,” Mr McGrath said, “the Liberal Party’s policy considerations will, at all fronts, aim to address the shortcomings of the Carpenter Government.”

[1] Minister for Housing and Works’ Media Release 27 March 2008: Western Australia at the forefront of housing affordability

[2] As above.

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