Everyone has a right to a safe, secure and affordable place to call home

Many people on low to moderate incomes in Western Australia live in housing stress, paying more than 30 per cent of their income on housing, impacting on their ability  to meet other essential basic living costs. Despite a recent drop in rental prices, rents remain unaffordable for many people on low incomes. The cost of saving a deposit and buying a house is out of reach for many with the cost of purchase around 7 times the average annual income.

Shelter WA believes that it is unacceptable that homelessness remains persistent across our State, with more than 9,000 people experiencing homelessness every night, and another 7,000 people living in insecure housing, one step away from homelessness. Homelessness does not discriminate. Whilst Aboriginal people, seniors and young people, and people fleeing family and domestic violence are more likely to be homeless, it touches people of all ages, genders, cultures and regions.

Ending homelessness and addressing WA's housing affordability issues can be achieved. With the right policy settings and collective goodwill we can have a society where everybody has a safe and secure place to call home. 

Shelter WA provides a strong, recognised voice that advocates for affordable, appropriate and accessible housing for all. We work with our members and partners to achieve this goal.  

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Disrupted

Disrupted – the second report commissioned by CHOICE, National Shelter, and The National Association of Tenant Organisations (NATO) – delves into the issues facing Australians who rent. It reveals three problems that people who rent are facing across the nation, with many:

  • living in poor quality homes afraid to request repairs;
  • on insecure tenancies; and
  • struggling with rental affordability and cost of living pressures.

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The Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Legislation yesterday released its report into the Residential Tenancies Legislation Amendment (Family Violence) Bill 2018.

The Report makes three conclusions that members of the Committee:

  • Support the policy of the Bill
  • Are satisfied that the Bill reflects the policy intent for persons experiencing family violence to quickly terminate their tenancy and;
  • Recommend the Bill be passed subject to 11 minor recommendations.

Shelter WA, REIWA and Tenancy WA welcome the findings and conclusions of this important legislative review report. All three organisations have collaborated on this policy reform to strike the balance for landlords and tenants experiencing family violence.

This reform process is critical to ensure that victims of family or domestic violence can ensure they have safe and secure housing. The WA Police Force has reported that in the year to September 2018, there have been over 22,000 family violence related offences and over 11,000 breaches of violence restraint orders.

Since September 2008, there has been an increase of over 143 per cent alone in family violence assaults.[1]

In terms of threatening behaviour in a family violence context, there has been an increase of 175 per cent since September 2008 to September 2018.[2]

CEO Shelter WA, Ms Michelle Mackenzie said “This is a sensible response to the issues that face victims of family and domestic violence. This enables those victims to respond quickly to their personal circumstances and provide them with greater housing security. I’d like to congratulate the McGowan Government for progressing this critical reform.”

REIWA President, Mr Damian Collins said “REIWA welcomes the findings of the Committee’s report and its well-balanced approach to all parties. Through a robust consultation process, the Bill is now best placed to serve those who need to leave situation of family violence while also protecting essential property rights. REIWA welcomes these reforms and urges the WA Government to pass the bill as swiftly as possible, so these positive changes can take effect.

Ms Kate Davis, Principal Solicitor at Tenancy WA said “Domestic Violence provisions in the Residential Tenancies Act has been our number one law reform priority for the past 4 years, and these reforms will be critical to preventing homelessness resulting from domestic violence. We look forward to working with government to implement these reforms as soon as possible.”

We all call on the WA Parliament to ensure the swift passage of this important Bill.

Ends

Media Contacts:
Michelle Mackenzie, CEO of Shelter WA, 0419 931 819.
Damian Collins, President of REIWA,
Kate Davis, Principal Solicitor at Tenancy WA,

[1] WA Police Force Crime Statistics, 2018, https://www.police.wa.gov.au/Crime/CrimeStatistics#/ accessed 30 October 2018.

[2] Ibid.

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Looking for accommodation?

Shelter WA is not a provider of accommodation. If you are seeking emergency accommodation, please call Entrypoint Perth on (08) 6496 0001 or 1800 124 684, or Crisis Care on (08) 9223 1111 or 1800 199 008. 

For information on available housing supports across Western Australia, please visit our online support services directory, Housing Options & Resources.

 

Shelter WA acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land. We pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.

 

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