“Rents in Perth are rising at the fastest rate of any capital city in Australia and have surged by over 20% during the last 12 months which many struggling Western Australians simply can’t afford”, said Shadow Housing Minister Steve Martin.

Labor has been warned of this housing crisis for years and to date has done nothing to prevent it. In fact, in their first term of government they sold off public housing.

There are now 1,300 fewer public houses than when WA Labor won government despite more money coming into treasury coffers than ever before.

“Soaring rents and little or no public housing is forcing many struggling Western Australians to the wall.

“This crisis is also impacting the working poor given wages have not come close to keeping pace with massive increases in rents.

“According to the ABS, Western Australia has one of the lowest rate of wage growth in the country.

“The not-for-profit sector is under extreme stress with the number of people requiring help. Yet, the Housing and Communities Ministers have no plan other than the bungled YHA accommodation, which is a drop in the ocean that will have little or no impact on this housing crisis.

“The failure to address the housing crisis simply manifests in other sectors of society, such as contributing to the health crisis. Those struggling and without a home will present to emergency departments with mental health and other issues. We know this is a contributing factor to WA’s record ambulance ramping.

“Failing to provide proper public housing is a false economy because homeless people occupying hospital beds is vastly more expensive, not to mention poorer health outcomes for those impacted by the housing crisis.

“What concerns me is when the borders open then skilled migrants, international students and tourists will require housing that will put even further pressure on rents and demands for housing.

“WA Labor talks about a housing first strategy yet their plan has been an unmitigated failure because they have failed to provide the key ingredient – houses.

“The new Housing Minister John Carey needs to demonstrate how the government intends to address the current crisis and the approaching cliff face when the borders open.

“Unfortunately, the Minister can’t even identify how many new housing units he plans To deliver over the next year or over the next five years, which is simply unacceptable.

“Labor can no longer turn a blind eye to the suffering in metropolitan and regional WA, especially given a record budget surplus,” he said.