No new houses in Cook Labor Government’s latest housing crisis announcement

Nov 9, 2023 | State News, Steve Martin MLC

The Cook Labor Government’s latest plan to ease Western Australia’s unprecedented housing crisis is
seriously flawed in that it adds not one new house to the State’s housing stock, according to Shadow
Housing Minister Steve Martin.

Mr Martin said the policy did nothing to address the fundamental issue driving the housing crisis, which was
too few houses.

“Paying landlords to move their homes from the short-term rental market to a 12-month lease, is nothing
more than a short-term shuffle that does not produce more houses,” he said.

“The only solution is to produce more dwellings and it seems the Cook Labor Government will do anything
else other than provide more dwellings.

“For a Government that has sat on its hands for seven years, this is nothing short of an insult to families
struggling to find a home.”

Mr Martin said the Government’s admission that it has budgeted only $2.7 million for the scheme – the
equivalent of approximately 270 grants – showed that the incentive payment was unlikely to have much of
an impact in causing many homes to switch from the short-term to long-term rental market.

“This is a 12-month band-aid on a gaping wound,” he said. “Up to 270 homes moving from short-term
accommodation to long-term for 12 months. Homes that are likely to already have people in them. What
happens with these houses once the 12-month lease is up?

“Without proper modelling this is nothing more than a desperate headline grab with a $2.7 million price tag
that risks further eroding investor confidence in the housing market.

“You can’t keep changing the rules and expect investors to come back to the residential property market.
Investors drive the building of new homes. Without them, the state’s rental housing stock will simply
continue to decline.”

Mr Martin said the changes also risked adding further delays to the construction of new houses by adding
to the workload of local governments with the creation of new planning requirements.

“More red tape is not the answer here. The housing market relies on investment and the Government
needs to focus on making the environment for building a home as favourable as possible.”

Mr Martin said there were some very easy levers the Government could pull to get housing construction
moving, including getting Western Power to connect the power on at homes that have already been

“Developers tell us delays in Western Power approvals, completion of head works and connections are one
of the biggest causes of home building delays,” he said.

“A Liberal Government would prioritise creating more housing stock, not just shifting the deckchairs on the
Titanic like the Cook Labor Government.”