A recent report conducted by Infrastructure Australia has found that there are 39,200 public homes less than required and an overall shortfall of 60,000 homes in regional Western Australia.

“The shortage of affordable housing options and rental stock is holding back growth and investment in regional WA,” said Shadow Housing Minister Steve Martin.

“This report tells us what we have known for a long time.

“Regional vacancy rates have hovered around 1% for the last 18 months and have put an incredible strain on people and communities in country WA.

“Without an appropriate place to live, regional Western Australians are being forced to look to the metro area for employment and education opportunities.

“We also know that the regional road network is in desperate need of improvements all around WA.

According to the report analysing the strengths and infrastructure gaps in regional Australia, thousands of kilometres of roads and rail require urgent improvements.

99 people died on country roads last year and made up 60% of the state’s overall road toll – despite regional Western Australians making up only 20% of the overall population.

“To get regional Western Australians home safely each night, we must improve our existing road network and increase the accessibility of rail transport options,” said Mr Martin.

The report also highlighted the urgent need to improve telecommunications around the state.

“Everyone living in regional WA will have experienced the failures of our telecommunications network.

“Both state and federal governments need to work together to improve the reliability of phone and internet coverage across the state to not only keep us connected, but to keep us safe,” said Mr Martin.

“The report released by Infrastructure Australia has highlighted the steps we can take to help these communities not only survive, but to thrive.

“We need to act now to attract skilled workers and families to regional communities. We need to give them reasons to live here.

“By offering more affordable housing options, updating our vast road network and improving telecommunications infrastructure we will be taking important steps towards improving the lives of everyone living and working in country WA.”