03/10/2008 - 15:01

Buswell orders Homeswest housing review

03/10/2008 - 15:01

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Housing and Works Minister Troy Buswell has ordered a review of public housing stock in high-end suburbs of Perth with a view to eventually reinvest the value of some properties to greater effect elsewhere.

Buswell orders Homeswest housing review

Housing and Works Minister Troy Buswell has ordered a review of public housing stock in high-end suburbs of Perth with a view to eventually reinvest the value of some properties to greater effect elsewhere.

He said the waiting list for social housing had reached an unacceptable level and the new government had to do everything possible to increase the number of homes available.

Mr Buswell has asked the Department of Housing and Works to identify high-value properties that might be suitable for sale as they were vacated and to develop a reinvestment strategy that would ensure the funds realised were applied to the provision of extra homes in more sustainable suburbs.

The Minister stressed that there was no intention to displace tenants of such properties in the short term.

He said most Homeswest tenancies had no end date and existing tenants had nothing to fear provided they continued to meet the standard eligibility criteria to occupy public housing.

No Homeswest property would be considered for sale until the tenant chose to give notice.

Mr Buswell said the Government had a clear imperative to assist more needy Western Australians into affordable housing. The safety net was failing in the face of rising home prices and sky-rocketing private rents.

"The Government stock of public housing numbers just over 25,000 homes, with a waiting list that would require another 18,000. So it is not something we are going to be able to solve overnight," he said.

The solution clearly had to include trading expensive stock in high-end suburbs to provide a greater amount of accommodation in more sustainable, but less expensive, suburbs.

Mr Buswell said that optimising public housing in this way did not need to be at the expense of social inclusion. The goals should be complementary.

"Certainly I am not advocating a return to the days of high concentrations of public housing. It is more that in these times of significant need, common sense and good judgement simply must prevail over ideological argument," he said.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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