A generation of low-income earners in Western Australia now face the real danger of being homeless with Perth now recording the largest increase in rents of any capital city in Australia.
Many thousands of people on low incomes now have to compete for just over 200 houses in Perth and only 20 houses in Mandurah with a weekly rent of $400 or lower, according to rental listings advertised on reiwa.com.au.
A trifecta of surging rents, petrol and food prices are now pushing more Western Australian low-income families into being homeless according to Dr David Honey MLA, WA Liberal Leader.
“Rents account for a major proportion of low-income earners household budget the financial pressure of rising rents is underlined by figures released this week by SQM Research that showed Perth house rents were now rising the fastest in the nation,” said Dr Honey.
“Overall, rents for houses in Perth rose by 2.3% on a monthly basis which compares to an average increase of 1.4 per cent for all capital cities.
“If this monthly rent increase continues at this rate, rents in Perth could surge by over 25 per cent during the next twelve months which is much higher than the very significant 15.4 per cent over the past year.
“Low-income earners throughout Western Australia will find it very difficult to retain or secure a home of their own if rents continue to surge with families in some areas already paying 45 per cent of their income on rents.
“With the opening of the border, more people are moving into Western Australia at a time when there is a severe shortage of rental stock in the State.
“The McGowan Government has failed miserably to properly plan for opening of the border and low-income earners will be punished the most for this lack of planning.
“As time goes on the public of Western Australia will start to realise that Premier Mark McGowan and his Labor Government live in a parallel universe. They have constantly basked in COVID publicity over the past two years while not appreciating and properly funding critical government services such as housing and health,” he said.
The Hon Steve Martin MLC, Shadow Housing Minister, added that the homeless crisis was underlined by the fact that the number of people experiencing homelessness in Perth and surrounds has increased by over 68% since November 2020.
“We will have a further explosion in homeless people unless that Labor State government acts quickly to provide more rental properties in the Western Australia.
“The harsh reality is that nothing is happening on the ground because of the mismanagement of the Labor Government despite multi-million-dollar surpluses.
“You only have to look at the public housing waiting list to appreciate this as it shows. It shows that at the end of February, 32,609 Western Australians were waiting for a placement in a public housing property, of these, 7,786 are priority applicants.
“This represents an increase of more than over 8,600 since June 2020 which is totally unacceptable,” Mr Martin said.