Changes to the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) missing the mark

The Western Australian Labor Government should be looking at stamp duty, rather than the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) if it wants to improve budget sustainability and improve housing affordability. 

Treasurer and Finance Minister Ben Wyatt this week (17 May, 2017) announced the temporary boost to the first home owner grant would stop on June 30, 2017. 

The boost, announced by the previous government in December 2016, increased the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) payment from $10,000 to $15,000 on the purchases of new homes.

It had previously been scheduled to cease on December 31, 2017.

Shelter WA spokesman Stephen Hall said if the State government was serious about budget repair, together with long-term sustainable funding sources, it should move from taxing first home buyers with stamp duty to a broad-based land tax.

“The FHOG is meant to assist with housing affordability,” Mr Hall said.

“However, moving from stamp duty will be more effective for first and all home buyers.

“As WA’s population ages, this would be an effective response to support seniors to downsize, and free up housing stock throughout the State.

“Stamp duty has widely been recognised to have a detrimental impact on residential mobility, housing affordability and efficient use of the housing stock.

“Any move to a broad-based annual land tax will need to be phased-in to ensure those who have recently paid stamp duties aren’t unduly disadvantaged”

Mr Hall referred to a recent Australia Institute report about stamp duty calculations, on houses listed on, to demonstrate that on average, stamp duty adds an additional $31,700 to the cost of a house in Perth (The Australia Institute, 2016).

Media Contact:  Stephen Hall, Shelter WA Spokesman   

(08) 9325 6660 or 0499770 245 or 0408426 263

 17 May 2017

Rents still not affordable for lower-income Western Australians

A new report has found rents are still not affordable for people on low incomes in Western Australia.

National Shelter, Community Sector Banking and SGS Economics and Planning recently released the Rental Affordability Index (RAI).

The index, which is released on a biannual basis, is an indicator of rental affordability compared with household incomes.

“It is clear Western Australia is seeing a marked improvement in rental affordability, which is good news,” Shelter WA spokesman Stephen Hall said.

“However, the RAI is based on Western Australian households with an income of $85,000, and it is a much different picture for those people living under those incomes.

“For people on income support, for instance the Newstart allowance, rental properties are still extremely unaffordable.

“Also for people on very low incomes, which is less than 50 per cent of the median income of $85,000, most of Western Australia, including the city, remote, rural, and regional areas, remains unaffordable.

Shelter WA wants to see the development of more social housing to support Western Australians doing it tough.

“With more than 18,500 people on the social housing wait list in Western Australia and with an average wait time of three years, the housing needs of Western Australians who are most in need are not being met,” Mr Hall said.

“A key solution is to also encourage the development of more diverse and affordable private sector housing to meet the needs of Western Australians

“Increasing supports, such as Commonwealth Rental Assistance (CRA), can also raise the capacity of households on low incomes, so they can actively participate in society, and contribute back to the economy.”

Fact Box

• Western Australia is the only Australian jurisdiction where average household incomes for households that rent their accommodation are higher in regional areas than in metropolitan Perth.

• When housing is unaffordable, low income households pay a large proportion of their income on rent, often foregoing basic necessities. If this cannot be sustained, it can lead to homelessness.

• With over 18,500) people on the Housing Authority wait list and an average wait time of three years, the housing needs of Western Australians most in need are not being met.

• The average household that rents accommodation in greater Perth pays 21 per cent of its total income on rent – the most affordable of all the metropolitan areas in Australia.

• Some areas north of the river remain unaffordable to severely unaffordable, while some urban pockets can be further considered moderately unaffordable.

Please see the Rental Affordability Index (RAI)

Please see Rental Affordability Index (RAI) map.


Media Contact:  Stephen Hall, Shelter WA Spokesman   

(08) 9325 6660 or 0499770 245 or 0408426 263


16 May 2017

Superannuation is not for home deposits, it’s for retirement.

Allowing Australians to access their superannuation funds, for a home deposit, is not only unsound economically, it could place young people at risk of living in poverty when they become seniors.


Read more

Government must not miss the opportunity for real housing reform

Shelter WA is urging the Federal Government not to waste the chance to reform the tax treatment of housing, which would ensure more Australians could access affordable housing.


Read more

Federal Government to support the development of social housing

The Federal Treasurer has signalled the May budget will have a range of policy measures designed to tackle housing affordability, both for renters and for first home buyers. This includes the possible creation of a new Affordable Housing Finance Corporation to inject hundreds of millions of dollars investment in community housing. 

Read more

New research shows rental market issues for tenants

A survey conducted with more than 1,000 renters, throughout Australia, proves that many have little security of tenure and some households are living in poorly maintained housing, potentially detrimental to their health.

New data released by Choice, National Shelter and National Association of Tenant Organisations (NATO) shows more people are renting than ever before, and many face significant challenges in the rental market.

Read more

Axing the National Affordable Housing Agreement will put struggling households further at risk

Shelter WA is deeply concerned with reports today that the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) is to be axed in the May budget.

“The NAHA is an essential funding agreement for meeting the housing needs of low to moderate income earners in WA and around Australia. Without it, our social and affordable housing and homelessness crisis will get significantly worse.” said Stephen Hall, Manager of Communications and Engagement at Shelter WA.

Read more

Political Parties Called On To Fix WA's Housing Crisis

The community services sector has called on all political parties to reveal their plans to address WA’s critical housing and homelessness issues before the upcoming state election.

This election, the community services sector has come together to launch a campaign which encourages people to ask ‘What If It Was Me?’.

Read more

Shelter WA Political Forum

Housing affordability is being talked about right across the country, and yet there is a deafening silence about any housing policy in the lead up to next month’s State election.

As WA is now four weeks away from the election, the community deserves to know what our political parties plan to do to ensure all Western Australians can afford a home; as we know that secure housing enhances well-being, enables engagement in the community and facilitates economic participation.

Read more

Innovative financing brings new opportunities for community housing

Shelter WA welcomes today’s announcement from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to make $250m available to community housing providers nationally.

This announcement from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation shows the application of an innovative financing model to increase the supply of environmentally sustainable social housing.

Read more