Headworks fund provides no immediate relief for Western Australians facing housing crisis 

Feb 22, 2023 | State News, Steve Martin MLC

The Opposition has welcomed the announcement of an Infrastructure Development Fund but says it will fail to bring any immediate relief to the thousands of Western Australians struggling to rent or buy a home in the current housing crisis. 

“With escalating cost of living pressures on the back of rising interest rates, I question how throwing money at property developers to make infill projects in the inner city areas more affordable for developers will help those struggling to find a home,” Shadow Housing Minister Steve Martin said. 

“We are hearing of lengthy delays of over a year to get the headworks done – the housing crisis is impacting Western Australians today. 

“How will this fund reduce the time it takes to get homes and apartments built? 

“We are all aware that one of the major obstacles in increasing housing stock is the shortage of both materials and workers, leading to major timeline and budget blow-outs. 

“Until the government can convince construction workers to move to WA by the thousands, this announcement is nothing more than window dressing. 

“Unless we have the workers, the fund will not be able to address the existing concerns around shortages and the sector’s ability to deliver projects in an affordable and timely manner.” 

Mr Martin also questioned whether any of these funds would lead to more affordable housing for Western Australians. 

“Will the developers pass on the savings to homebuyers? 

Mr Martin said the $40m allocated to the regions is welcome but won’t go very far. 

“As the housing crisis continues to impact people and communities across Western Australia, anything that can be done to incentivise an increase in housing stock, particularly in our regions, is a good thing,” said Mr Martin. 

“The lack of housing for workers is being felt across the entirety of WA. However, there’s very little detail on how the funds for workers accommodation will be allocated and to who? Will local councils be left to do the heavy lifting? 

“The McGowan Labor Government have had six years to address the housing crisis yet we continue to see more of the same – lots of spin but no urgent action on the ground to improve housing affordability and supply.”