- State Government is taking steps to improve rental affordability
- Actions include lowering financial barriers to the private rental market and strengthening the safety net for the most vulnerable
The McGowan Government is tackling housing affordability through a range of programs, Housing Minister Peter Tinley told an economics forum in Perth today.
With rental affordability, in particular, remaining a persistent challenge, the Department of Communities is working to provide better opportunities for renters in Western Australia.
Mr Tinley made the comments while delivering the opening address at the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre’s (BCEC) workshop, which focused on the hot topic of Australia’s private rental market.
BCEC launched two reports at today’s workshop: ‘The private rental sector in Australia – Public perceptions of quality & affordability’; and ‘Housing security for WA’s older renters’.
The Minister told the conference that the McGowan Government was addressing housing affordability in WA through the Affordable Housing Action Plan 2017-18 to 2019-20, unveiled in June this year.
Initiatives contained in the plan include lowering financial barriers to the private rental market, new trials to promote transition between social housing and the private market and, importantly, strengthening of the safety net supporting society’s most vulnerable.
Under the plan, bond assistance will assist an estimated 39,000 households. A review of the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 will also explore longer term leasing options as a way of improving security of tenure.
The Assisted Rental Pathway pilot program is providing an alternative to social housing by leasing homes from private landlords, and taking advantage of favourable market conditions. The Government wants to expand the program to help an extra 100 social housing waitlisted applicants enter the private rental sector.
The Affordable Housing Action Plan uses a needs-based entry system to ensure that those accessing social housing are those most in need, and also to improve responses to urgent needs such as people seeking stable accommodation to escape domestic violence.
For a copy of the reports launched at BCEC’s workshop, visit http://bcec.edu.au/research. For a copy of the action plan, visit http://www.housing.wa.gov.au/ahap
As stated by Housing Minister Peter Tinley:
“Housing comprises much more than four walls, a roof and the built form. It is the basic foundation of individual, family and community wellbeing.
“Our property market has experienced a downswing in the past few years and, although overall affordability has improved, affordable housing is still out of reach for many Western Australians.
“Workers earning minimum wages cannot afford to rent, let alone buy a home. Average Perth rents have fallen, but only two per cent of available lettings are affordable to people on an aged or disability pension.
“Less than 10 per cent are affordable for minimum wage earners.
“Housing affordability is an issue that affects many of us and it requires all our efforts to resolve. A strong ongoing partnership with industry and the community sector are crucial if we are to deliver affordable housing.
“This is why it is important that organisations such as the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre and Curtin University should be supported when undertaking research that deepens our collective understanding of rental affordability in WA.”