Concerns over government’s housing timeline

15/04/2009 - 22:00

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QUESTIONS are being raised within the housing industry about the federal government's ability to meet its commitment to supply 3,000 new social housing dwellings in Western Australia through its housing stimulus package.

QUESTIONS are being raised within the housing industry about the federal government's ability to meet its commitment to supply 3,000 new social housing dwellings in Western Australia through its housing stimulus package.

The government's target is the construction of 2,600 social housing dwellings, with 75 per cent completed, by December 2010 and 400 dwellings for government employees in country areas.

The housing stimulus package involves the contribution of about $116 million from the state government and $640 million from the federal government.

Master Builders Association housing director WA Gavan Forster said that, while he hoped the government could achieve its deadline, it would be a challenge.

"That's quite a challenge, given the availability of land and given they have to go through council approvals and given there seems to be delays in getting commonwealth funding," he said.

"I'm hoping the government will be able to achieve that [timeline], but I'm uncertain that they'll be able to manage that. They've got project management teams who are used to building 1,000 a year and now they've got a program of 3,000, it's a big ask with the same amount of people to do that.

"They're working as hard as they can to do it but they're facing these things that are out of control."

The housing stimulus package is designed to use construction as means to stimulate the wider economy, largely through the creation of direct and indirect employment.

Stage one involved bringing forward known projects on department land, while stage two involves inviting proposals using developers' land.

Expressions of interest for development proposals are currently being sought to meet the needs of social housing applicants in both metropolitan and country areas, as well as government regional officers in the Pilbara, Kimberley and Wheatbelt.

Last week, WA Treasurer Troy Buswell (pictured) announced that work would begin on the first phase of construction, which would deliver 286 new social housing dwellings across WA by July 2010 at a cost of $70 million.

The state government contributed land worth almost $40 million to the project.

It is estimated the package will support about 1,500 jobs in WA over the next two years.

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