Liberal Party’s Social Housing commitment is smart, strategic and reflects community expectations

West Australians are overwhelmingly in favour of supporting initiatives to end homelessness and increase affordable rental and social housing.

Shelter WA applauds the Liberal Party’s commitment to boost social housing by 4,600 homes over five years in partnership with the community housing sector. Shelter WA CEO Michelle Mackenzie said the Liberal’s approach was smart and strategic, delivering economic and social benefits and enduring value for all Western Australians.

Shelter WA Polling

Polling released this week by Shelter WA showed that the community not only want more of a focus on housing and homelessness, but that these issues will have a strong influence on their vote this election.

“The Liberal Party’s commitment demonstrates the leadership expected from government by our community,” said Ms Mackenzie.

“Our polling showed overwhelming support for initiatives to tackle the housing crisis,” Ms Mackenzie said. “There is an expectation of government that they will act, and act now. Social housing is critical to ending homelessness. I applaud the Liberal Party for this commitment. It reflects community sentiment and increasing community concerns for West Australians experiencing homelessness and for people finding it tough to find an affordable rental place to live,” Ms Mackenzie said.

“The Liberal Party’s commitment demonstrates the leadership expected from government by our community,” said Ms Mackenzie.

By partnering with the community housing sector, the Liberal Party is showing a smart and strategic approach to the managing the State’s housing and land assets.

State Assets

“Harnessing under-utilised State assets along with the strengths of the community housing sector will make the State’s dollar go further. The community sector are experts in this field and can access Commonwealth finance and taxation programs to increase housing supply. They also deliver great outcomes for tenants. This commitment builds on the recent investment our State has made in the construction workforce, creating pipelines of work and new jobs and training options which will stimulate economic growth and create opportunities for thousands of Western Australians across the State.

“The leadership taken by the Liberal Party is welcome and whilst a good first start, greater investment into social and affordable housing supply is needed if we are to tackle Western Australia’s housing crisis,” said Ms Mackenzie. Investment in social and affordable housing supply is what we need and what Western Australians want to keep us all safe and strong.

COVID-19 showed us the importance of home. Having a place to live is fundamental to unlocking health, education and economic opportunity. Our polling showed affordable rentals, social housing and homelessness issues are increasingly important to Western Australians from all walks of life. The Unlock Housing coalition has put forward a package of measures to deliver the social and affordable housing needed in the short, medium and long term and to end homelessness.

We urge all parties to adopt our package and unlock opportunity by committing to increase  social and affordable housing options so that everybody has a place to call home.

About Unlock Housing

Unlock Housing presents a united voice urging government to unlock the potential of all Western Australians. Shelter WA has developed the Unlock Housing campaign in partnership with the community sector, industry, and people with lived experience of homelessness with three core priorities that address the housing crises and sets us all up for a bright housing future. More information can be found at www.unlockhousing.com.au

Key Findings of the Polling:

  • The issues of homelessness, affordable rental housing and social housing will strongly influence around a third of voters at the WA state election.

– 65% stated the issue homelessness will be influential in their voting intention, with 39% reporting “very” or “extremely influential”.

– Just 15% of voters said the issues of homelessness was “not at all” influential.

– Younger voters are significantly most influenced by the lack of affordable housing with 38% of 18-34yos report lack of affordable rental housing will have a very or extremely influential impact on their vote.

  • Homelessness is among the top four issues the community would like the State Government to focus more upon.
  • More than one in ten Western Australians (12%) placed homelessness as their #1 issue. Only crime, cost of living, and climate change come out ahead. Housing affordability as a number one key issue was placed 7th.
  • Initiatives that would reduce homelessness and increase affordable rental and social housing are strongly supported.

– Over 4 in 5 would support initiatives that reduce the incidence of homelessness. (87% support) and increase the amount of affordable rental housing in WA (81%).

– Almost 3 in 4 (71%) would also support initiatives that increase the amount of social housing in WA (with only 4% strongly opposed).

  • Support increases even further when the economic and humanitarian benefits are highlighted. Nine in ten would support homelessness, social housing and affordable housing initiatives if they created new jobs, stimulated the WA economy, and/or improved the health, wellbeing and housing security of vulnerable Western Australians.

Key Facts:

  • Over 15,700 households (around 30,000 people) are on the wait list for social housing.
  • Over 9,000 people experience homelessness every day in WA, including 1,000 people who are sleeping rough every night.
  • Over 4,100 people access specialist homelessness services every day.
  • There is a shortfall of 39,200 social and 19,300 affordable homes across Western Australia to meet current need.

View the Summary Document here.

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.

Media Contacts

Karys Nella, Communications Consultant             0497 456 264  karys@infusedcomms.com.au

Michelle Mackenzie, CEO Shelter WA                   0419 931 819      ceo@shelterwa.org.au