WA Labor Government needs to act on building industry collapse

Apr 11, 2022 | State News, Steve Martin MLC

With another builder gone under today, the question needs to be asked what the State Labor Government is doing to counteract this crisis in the building sector.

Shadow Housing Minister, the Hon Steve Martin MLC, said the building community has been warning the State Government for months now of dire worker shortages and inaccessibility to building materials.

“We’ve heard for a long time from small businesses in construction of the difficulty of securing staff and materials for building. “The State Government has done well in bolstering the mining industry but seems to have ignored everyone else.”

While building wait times have blown out to 2-3 years, the rental vacancy rate in WA has remained consistently low. It currently sits at around 1% but a balanced market should be around 3-4%.

“Where is the Housing Minister? What is his response to the latest building collapse?

“Has the Minister met with representatives of the building industry to discuss the impact that this will have on plans to build more social housing properties?

WA has also seen the knock on effects of the private market into the public housing space, causing a spike in the social housing waitlist.

“Despite the number of people on the public housing waitlist increasing by 43% since June 2019, the government now have 10 less social homes than there were at the start of the housing crisis.

“I would hope that the Minister has written to the Minister for Finance to express the importance of ensuring the government increase the number of social housing properties, despite market challenges,” said Mr Martin. There are currently 18,738 applications on the public housing waitlist, which represents 32,873 people.

Over 8,000 of these have been classified as a priority by the government. Before the pandemic, there were 13,975 applications on the public housing waitlist representing 22,927 people.

Over 1,300 applicants have been waiting over 6 years to access public housing. “Hundreds of vulnerable families are now in limbo.

“They have paid substantial amounts of money and do not know what their future holds or if they will be able to even find somewhere to live. “They deserve a response from the Government who have overseen this housing crisis,“ said Mr Martin.