06/10/2009 - 09:33

State releases affordable housing report

06/10/2009 - 09:33

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Increasing land and housing options and promoting housing growth through not-for-profit and private partnerships are some of key principles released today in a housing taskforce report that provides a directions blueprint for the state's housing needs.

State releases affordable housing report

Increasing land and housing options and promoting housing growth through not-for-profit and private partnerships are some of key principles released today in a housing taskforce report that provides a directions blueprint for the state's housing needs.

 

The announcement is below:

 

 

Housing and Works Minister Troy Buswell today released the Social Housing Taskforce report as well as an accompanying future directions blueprint.

Mr Buswell invited public comment to inform the development of a long-term State affordable housing strategy.

The Minister said the public housing system has been a neglected area of public policy for too long and it was time for an ambitious and innovative long-term plan.

"While the State and Federal governments are working in partnership to substantially increase Western Australian social housing stock over the next two years, we need a long-term solution to the shortage of affordable housing," he said.

"It is clear that the housing system in its current form does not have the capacity to address the growing need of low to moderate income households.

"We need to look at a suite of initiatives to harness the co-production capacity of the public, private and community sectors to finance, develop and manage a sustainable affordable housing system."

The Liberal-National Government established The Social Housing Taskforce in last December to review the State's social housing system and advise on how to improve and expand the supply of housing.

The taskforce made 56 recommendations in the 'More than a Roof and Four Walls' report and these form the basis of the 'Housing 2020: Future Directions for Affordable Housing' paper, the initial blueprint for a State Affordable Housing Strategy.

The four key principles Housing 2020 is based on are:

- reform of the provision of public housing to focus on helping people when they need it rather than a 'public house for life' welfare solution

- promoting housing growth through collaboration with community not-for-profit organisations and the private sector

- increasing supply through a range of land and housing options

- improving opportunities and support for people to move between different housing tenures as their circumstances change.

"Housing 2020 provides us with a progressive yet pragmatic way forward and will require strong links between State agencies as well as between government, private and community housing sectors," Mr Buswell said.

"I'm very keen to see reform of the public housing waiting list by implementing a needs register which would involve the assessment of people's situations in order to link them to a number of housing options which suit their needs.

"People do have diverse needs and it's important that we expand the range of housing options on offer, which may include incentives such as rent subsidies to enable people to move out of the social housing sector and into the private rental market.

"One of the more challenging areas for us to work on is attracting new capital investment - the Social Housing Taskforce suggested that there is potential to attract large scale private investment in affordable housing if the right parameters can be established and the right partners involved.

"The community housing sector will have an increasingly important role to play in the future, and ultimately a re-energised community housing sector supported by significant private investment will help to increase the level of affordable housing in WA."

The Minister urged those working in the field or with experience with social housing issues to provide feedback on the documents.

"While a small number of the taskforce recommendations are either not suitable or realistic, like the planning reform that will allow for blanket subdivision of lots or the suggestion that home owner-occupiers rent out their spare rooms, the documents I'm releasing today are very much open to public comment," he said.

"The ultimate goal of this Government is to allow all Western Australians to obtain secure affordable housing, and I welcome all practical suggestions on how this can be best achieved."

Copies of the taskforce report and Housing 2020 are available from the Department of Housing website at http://www.housing.wa.gov.au

Submissions are open until December 4.

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