Election Scorecard – Why was housing missed on the hustings?

Housing and homelessness policies of the four key political parties have been evaluated by peak body Shelter WA today.

Using publicly announced policies and responses provided by the parties, each party was assessed against the recommendations made by the Unlock Housing coalition of more than 30 housing and homelessness service providers including Anglicare WA, Vinnies, The Salvation Army, St Pats, Nulsen Disability Services, Outcare, Co-operation Housing and Centrecare, along with peak bodies such as YACWA, the Aboriginal Health Council of WA, the Western Australian Association for Mental Health, WACOSS and the Centre for Women’s Safety and Wellbeing.

All major parties were invited to provide details on their commitment to address twelve policy asks to end homelessness, revitalise social housing, and fix the housing system. Their responses have been summarised in a Scorecard released today.

Shelter WA CEO Michelle Mackenzie said it’s important to provide visibility over where the parties stand on housing and homelessness commitments ahead of the State Election this weekend.


“One in nine West Australians said homelessness is their top election issue,” Ms Mackenzie said. “Unfortunately WA Labor has only committed to one of our ten commitments to deal with this crisis.”

“The WA Liberals have at least gone some way to committing the necessary investment required to stem the critically depleted supply of social housing. Whilst their commitment of 4,600 social and affordable homes over five years in partnership with the community housing sector falls short of what is required, it is a significant improvement on the government’s current target of just 260 social homes per year. We also welcome their commitment to using government owned land for community housing,” Ms Mackenzie said.

“One in nine West Australians said homelessness is their top election issue.”

The Greens, meanwhile, ticked nearly all the boxes including, crucially, committing to at least 2,500 new social homes per year over the next term of government. The Nationals also made welcome commitments on affordable rentals and emergency accommodation in the regions.

“Overall, what our Scorecard shows is that the priority in the WA community of resolving WA’s homelessness crisis has not translated into election promises that address the systemic problem or deliver solutions at the scale needed to end the housing crisis,” Ms Mackenzie said.

Minister Denies Housing Crisis

The Election scorecard has been released the day after Housing Minister Peter Tinley AM MLA denied Western Australia is experiencing a housing crisis.

“To hear the Minster deny we’re in a housing crisis beggars belief. We’ve been working with government over the last four years and have clearly articulated the depth of the crisis, in particular for people on very low and low incomes and those who rent, as well as providing a clear pathway forward. The housing crisis is a mainstream issue and will not go away by denying it exists,” Ms Mackenzie said.

“To hear the Minster deny we’re in a housing crisis beggars belief.”

It also comes after the revelation last week that the Premier believes the impact of lifting the moratorium will not be as bad as predicted.

The Scorecard follows the release of polling commissioned by Shelter WA which found voters overwhelmingly support initiatives to end homelessness and increase affordable rental and social housing.

Community Perceptions

The results from the Homelessness Community Perceptions commissioned by Shelter WA found:

  • Two thirds of voters (65%) reported that the issues of homelessness will be influential in their voting intention.
  • Homelessness is a top four issue the community would like the State Government to focus more on.
  • 90% of voters would support initiatives that reduce the incidence of homelessness and increase jobs.
  • Over one third of 18–34-year old’s (38%) stated that a lack of affordable rental housing will have a major impact on their vote.

“It’s hard to fathom why neither major party has signed up to any of these necessary and obvious interventions in a worsening crisis,” Ms Mackenzie concluded.

A full assessment of commitments announced during the election period was also tracked. View here.

Key Facts

  • Over 9,000 people experience homelessness every day in WA.
  • Over 30,000 people are on the wait list for social housing.
  • There is a shortfall of 39,200 social and 19,300 affordable homes across WA.

Survey Details

The polling was conducted in February 2021 by Painted Dog Research group operating in line with the international standard for market, opinion, and Social Research (ISO 20252). The sample size is n=612 with a survey error of 3.96% at the 95% level of confidence. All survey participants were over 18 years of age and include residents from the Perth metropolitan area in all upper house electorates. Raw data is available on request.

Unlock Housing Coalition

The Unlock Housing coalition of over 30 housing and homelessness service providers has put forward a suite of solutions to address the housing crisis here.

Media Contact

Chantal Caruso | 0447 201 377 / (08) 9325 6660 | projects@shelterwa.org.au