State Government-owned Western Power is proving to be another handbrake on Western Australia’s building sector which is already facing significant pressures.
Small businesses and developers are currently waiting 12 months and longer for Western Power to complete power supply upgrades and connections to subdivisions and new residential builds; work that until recently would have only taken 12 weeks.
WA Liberal Leader Libby Mettam said the delays were directly responsible for stalling the release of new land for homes at a time when the State was desperately in need of housing stock.
“These delays for developers translate directly into delays in providing houses for Western Australians who have their backs to the wall in the face of record low rental vacancy rates, soaring rents and house prices and diminishing public housing stocks,” Ms Mettam said.
“It’s impossible to take seriously any commitment by the McGowan Labor Government to speed up the delivery of new homes in WA when the Government itself is responsible for delays of this magnitude.
“Minister after minister has stood in Parliament in the past three months with assurances the Government is doing all in its power to alleviate the housing crisis, while hiding the fact that one of the biggest hurdles facing developers is a government department.”
Shadow Housing Minister Steve Martin said it had been two months since the Premier announced his Infrastructure Development Fund but as was often the case with the McGowan Government, it was too little, too late.
“The McGowan Government’s own independent infrastructure advisory body has long flagged the need for enabling infrastructure, such as adequate electricity networks, to be in place to get projects going,” Mr Martin said.
“Instead, we see developers and small businesses caught in the middle of what the government requires and what the government actually delivers.
“All Western Australians are bearing the costs of these delays through stalled housing construction, additional costs to small businesses and jobs that are lost waiting around for government’s left hand to figure out what it’s right hand is doing.”
WA’s overheated housing market is adding to the cost-of-living crisis facing many Western Australians.
The Opposition has called for an emergency roundtable to get everyone in the room, but the McGowan Government has failed to accept that bipartisan offer to navigate a way forward.
The McGowan Government has also failed to get its $30 million relief package for the construction industry out the door, with applicants waiting months to be assessed. This comes as construction company collapses have increased nearly 20 per cent in WA so far this financial year according to ASIC as material costs and labour shortages continue to stymie the sector.